Does God Want to Spend Time with Me?
In honor of Father's Day, I have a question. Have you ever wondered if God wants to spend time with you? Afterall, some wonder if their co-workers, their acquaintances, even their own father wants to hang out with them. So what about God? Does He want to spend time ... with me?
My question isn't meant to trivialize God or make Him appear needy for our attention. He is the eternally self-sufficient One, who before Creation existed fully satisfied in the company of Himself. It is why I love the doctrine and mystery of the Trinity, the eternal community of the Three-in-One.
So, when I ask if you've ever wondered if God wants to spend time with you, I don't mean to suggest that He needs any of us. But at a street level, is there any sense in which the Creator of the Universe wants your company? Wants you to be near Him? I think so. And I think I can convince you.
The Biblical Case
First, if we begin (and end) with the Scriptures (which are the revealed heart of God), we will discover His desire to spend time with us:
Genesis 3:9 – "Adam, where are you?" (Note: God pursues Adam, even after Adam's sin and hiding in the Garden).
James 4:8 – "Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you." (If we take a step toward God, He is eager to spend time with us.)
John 10:10b – "I have come that you might have life, and have it to the full." (The implication is that full life is only in Jesus' presence, and He wants us to come spend time with Him to have it.)
John 4:23 – "An hour is coming and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in Spirit and in truth. For such people, the Father seeks to be His worshippers." (God seeks relationship with us!)
There. Convinced? Ok, perhaps not quite. Sometimes we'll read the words of the Bible, but fail to fully believe what they say. Right? That is why I'm glad that sometimes God pursues us one step further. He did that to me.
It was a cold, dark Thursday night, as I crept quietly into our Little House on the Cul-de-sac ...
It'd been a long day, meeting with students on the JMU campus, telling them about Jesus. And that evening we had our weekly Large Group meeting, attended by hundreds of collegians. I was the speaker (which I loved being), yet was deeply drained by a full day of listening, speaking, putting out fires, and entering the world of 18-21 year-olds. It was glorious labor to offer them Jesus.
About 11pm, I rolled the car up our gravel driveway, noticing all the lights were out. That meant Paula, Lauren and Daniel (Caleb wasn't born yet) were fast asleep in their beds. I quietly entered our side door and climbed the stairs. After an intense day on campus, I needed to unwind before I'd be able to sleep.
Tiptoeing to our bedroom, my goal was to put on my slippers, then relax. The room was pitch black and I didn't want to wake Paula, so I fumbled in the dark closet until my hands found my mocassin slippers. Flipping off my shoes, I began to insert one foot into my mocassin, balancing unsteadily on one leg like a twirling gymnast on a balance beam. But the slipper wouldn't fit (no, not a Cinderella moment). I tried and tried to fit that slipper on my foot, but was strangely thwarted as I hopped around on one leg. Flummoxed, I decided I must see the problem. I flipped on the dim closet light, then sat softly on the edge of the bed. And then I saw my slipper problem.
Earlier that day, my dear son Daniel was playing and wanted to be with his Daddy. But Daddy was on campus all day and night. So what did Daniel do? He went into his little closet and found his slippers. Then he took them into Daddy's closet and slipped his slippers inside of mine. That way, Daniel could vicariously be with his Daddy all day.
Needless to say, as I sat on the edge of the bed and stared at these precious little slippers inside of mine, I melted. "O! O! how I love this boy!" His gesture was so tender and affectionate. Little did my son know the impact his slippers had upon my heart. I was overwhelmed with love and affection for my dear Daniel, who bears my name.
As my eyes welled up with tears, I had a strange experience, an epiphany with God. Call it the Holy Spirit tapping me on the shoulder: "Hey Dan, how do you think I feel when you want to spend time with Me (like Daniel wants to spend time with you)? When you take your little slipper and slip it into Mine?"
I was undone. The God of the Universe awakened my mind to see that, if my father-heart was so deeply touched by Daniel's longing to be near me, that His Father-heart was more greatly moved with Love for me ... if only I'd move in His direction, to His closet, to place my slippers into His.
I am convinced God wants to spend time with us. I've found that the best way to place my slipper into His is by carving out time to get alone with Him in His Word, the Bible. Pick a place (a coffee shop?) and a time, and go alone to meet your Father who seeks and pursues you. He's ready and waiting. Bring your Bible and an expectant heart. It'll be the best thing you do all day!