Dave greeted me in the hall Wednesday night as I came from teaching one of our adult education classes. With a casual manner he sauntered up and wanted to know if I had a few minutes to talk. After a full evening of teaching, I was not especially eager to do so. I thought about having him give me a call in the morning. But there are those moments when it’s wise to change the schedule. I sensed this was one of them.
We sat down in my study, and he shared that over the past week his wife had taken their young daughter and gone to visit the in-laws. During his week alone, he found it difficult to go home at night. He felt God tugging on his heart in ways that he found enticing and terrifying. As he examined his heart, he felt he was discovering that his relationship with God had been through others. As a boy, it was the church youth group. As an adult, it was through his wife and his associations of leadership in the church. He was only now discerning that he hoped that knowing God through others would be enough. And in the past it had been.
Now all that was changing. God was calling Dave to come face to face. That was scary. It called for a revolution in the depths of his being. But he was ready. With obvious emotion he wanted to know how to move beyond a secondhand experience of God into a personal knowledge.
The sanctuary is just down the hall from my study. It was late and dark, but there was just enough light for us to make our way to the chancel steps. We knelt down and began to pray. Through the veil of other people and busy activities, the Lord stepped through to meet him. As Dave gave over his wife, daughter, work, church activities and business, the secondhand experience became a personal embrace of love between God and his Son. That is what Jesus asks the Father for when he prays in today’s verses “that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
Examine your own relationship with the Lord. Would you describe it as a firsthand or secondhand one? Picture yourself standing before the Lord. Ask the Lord to remove anything that you placed between the two of you and then wait in silence while he does it. After a period of silence, write down your impressions.
Stephen D. Eyre and Jacalyn Eyre