I honestly don’t remember a lot of specific details of my wedding. It was one of the more stressful and hectic days in my memory. I know I had a lot of loved ones there and I remember a few glimpses here and there.
But there is one thing I remember vividly.
When we left the church we drove off in a beautiful 69′ Camaro owned by one of my friends. We planned to drive it to a city park where our car was parked and leave it there for him to come pick up later. But in the craziness of our exit, I forgot to grab the keys to our car. So, we had to wait for someone to bring them to us.
This is the time I remember about our wedding day. It was me in my tux and her in her wedding dress sitting on a park bench on a beautiful April evening in Texas. It was the first time the entire day we had actually spoken to one another. We remember people walking past us looking at the strange couple in wedding garb just talking away in the middle of a park. I’m sure it was really strange to see.
I remember this because I feel like all of the revelry and ceremony of the wedding shrouded what was the most important thing: our relationship.
Which gets me to thinking about God a little bit. Any cursory gaze over the internet brings up a mountain of writing about God, church, theology, sin, and how the culture is either shaping or being shaped by these things. We have a ton of stuff on the blog about it. Great stuff.
But, I am worn by it all in the same breath. I love my church and the churches I worked for in the past. I love my family who are ministers and missionaries. I love my two brothers on this blog who are students and ministers of the Lord in a way I could never imagine.
But with all of that in mind……man, we are making it complicated.
Because, when it all gets boiled down – this whole “God” thing is a relationship thing.
What is difficult to admit is the complexity of relationships. There is no way to measure, quantify, or substantiate a good relationship. I guess you just know it when you see it (or experience it). And maybe, that is why we muddy up the water with debate and conflicts over differing viewpoints on God. It kind of distracts us from the hard work of actually getting to know our God.
For me when I look at scripture with all of it’s triumphs and failings (yes folks, scripture does have failings) I see the nation of Israel and Yahweh trying to figure things out. God is taking a nomadic people in the desert and trying to teach them what it looks like to reflect his glory to the world. And they are trying to, in some ways deal with the realities of living with a holy God. It is a complicated relationship at it’s best, messy and violent at its worst.
But it seemed like those who had special favor with God (i.e. got to talk to him, speak his words, write about him) were the ones who fought for the relationship and made sure they were heard. There seemed to be little timidity for those who really drew close to the Lord.
And, I am not talking about timidity in terms of shrinking away from telling people about God. What I am talking about is people who were brave and bold as they pursued their relationships with God.
The woman at the well. Mary Magdalene. David. Moses. Job. Jonah. Peter.
These were people who valued the relationship so much that they made sure their voices and lives were heard.
And that is the thing about relationships. In the end, we just want to be heard and valued in our relationships. Even if there is conflict or disagreements as long as we know the other in the relationship knows our heart on the matter, we can move forward knowing the relationship is safe and valuable.
In Psalms 19, the writer writes about God and the way he speaks. The psalm for the majority of the verses focus on the words of God and how wonderful they are. The writer talks about the ways nature speak of God without words in a way that is powerful.
But the end of the chapter ends with these words:
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
What a beautiful meditation. And strange if you consider what these words mean in a relationship with God.
Because, the preceding verses cover all of the ways God speaks, nature speaks, and the way the law speaks. Everyone gets to talk.
But the Psalmist wants to talk. He wants a part of this relationship. Something good is going on here and they don’t want to be left out.
So when I read verse 14, I don’t really see it as “God, please be okay with my thoughts and words” as much as…..
“God, hear me.”
When we value hearing and being heard in any relationship, health will follow. This is no different with God.
We want to hear God speak. But, we also want to know God hears us. We want to know this relationship is valuable and real and means something.
So, just like the fading twilight hours of our wedding day, it is all about the relationship.