It's easy to forget how relationships work. When we do, we usually end up expecting more than the relationship can deliver. Young couples used to come to me wanting to get married. Although we talked about how relationships work, I suspect most of them thought they would be the exception; that they would be the couple who lived happily ever after, with nary so much as a ripple to spoil the glassy surface of their life together. Of course, that never happened. Two imperfect people cannot possibly create a perfect marriage. There are always issues of power and control, selfishness and sacrifice, the need to give and receive forgiveness. Anyone who has been married for more than a couple hours knows this.
So why should it surprise me when my relationship with Christ has its ups and downs, its moments of joy and of disappointment? But the fact of the matter is, whenever I pick up my Bible or pause to pray, I expect that I will receive a revelation, feel God's presence, be lifted to new planes of spiritual experience. In fact, that rarely happens. Most of the time, it feels like I'm just going through the motions, doing the routine, checking "devotions" off the list. The fault is not God's; it always lies with me. Too often, I'm not ready, haven't prepared myself, in effect, casually strolling into the presence of the Almighty God and wondering why I'm not granted an audience. Life with Christ is a relationship, and like any relationship, there are failures, misunderstandings, imperfections, only in this case, they are always one-sided.
My marital love language is time. Linda doesn't have to give me things, doesn't have to talk to me, doesn't have to do things for me. All she needs to fill up my heart is to spend time with me. If that's how God wired me, it makes sense that my relationship with him works the same way. I need to spend blocks of time with him, just being in his presence. Which means I must make some decisions. There's only so much time in a day, so to give God the time I need to hear from him, I may have to curtail other activities. Even then, I don't expect that every time I pick up my Bible or bow my knees I will experience some rending of the heavens. Relationships don't work that way, and sometimes God hides himself to see if we are in earnest about seeking him.
So tonight I will lay my head down, once more ask forgiveness for the sins of the day, offer intercessions for those in need, and do my best to offer myself unreservedly to Christ. What he does with all that is his business, and I know his grace is not dependent on my perception of it. For that, I am grateful tonight.