A few years ago, I had a turning point in my relationship with God. Until then, I had been fixated on the doing of things that would make Him happy or proud and on not doing the things that would displease Him. And, then, of course, there was the aspect of Him doing things. There was the matter of things I would ask Him to do, and a lot of me reading into things He did that I hadn’t asked Him to do—being discouraged when it seemed He was doing things that weren’t in my interest, and getting hung up on trying to figure out why He was doing them.
Walking along a narrow path in the tropical forest we often visit for a Sunday walk, under the radiant early-morning African sun, I notice a magnificent cactus and stop to take a closer look. The dark-green rubbery leaves are fat and oval and interspersed with large pointed thorns. In contrast to the feisty exterior, tender blooms emerge from the tips of some leaves. Shades of yellow and an intricate design make these lovely flowers dazzle. How like Jesus’ presence after a thorny stretch of life’s journey. Just like a flower appearing in the most unexpected circumstances, He reassures me of His love and care.1
I have a great friend, one I can trust completely. He opens His heart to me, and I feel safe doing the same in return. He knows what’s going on inside my heart and understands what’s important to me.
The prodigal son is probably one of the better known of Jesus’ parables.1 It tells of a young man who leaves home, goes astray, regrets his decisions, and eventually returns to the loving, warm welcome of his father. It’s a theme that’s been retold countless times in literature and life, portrayed in art, danced in ballet, and even played in contemporary music, such as the Rolling Stones’ cover on their album Beggar’s Banquet. It’s a story of humanity that transcends nationality, creed, place, or even era, a story that is as poignant and relatable today as it was two millennia ago.
We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts.
—A. W. Tozer (1897–1963)
It is in silence that God is known, and through mysteries that he declares himself.
—Robert Hugh Benson (1871–1914)
Trying to describe God can be a challenging prospect. There are so many sides to His personality, and He’s so much greater and more profound than we’ll ever be able to grasp. Besides, each of us is at a different stage in our personal growth, and our relationship with God changes over the years.
God isn’t a complete mystery; He’s told us lots about Himself in His Word. Pull up a chair and hear what He has to say. We won’t find out everything,1 but there’s plenty to get started. “I publicly proclaim bold promises. I do not whisper obscurities in some dark corner. I would not have told [you] to seek me if I could not be found.”2
A while ago, my dad was doing some research into our family’s history and origins, which he then passed on to my siblings and me. He added an image of our surname’s coat of arms, which includes the motto “Fidelissimus semper”—Latin for “always faithful.”
I like the sound of that. I wonder where that motto originated, and whose story inspired it. God’s Word has a lot of good to say about faithfulness, “A faithful man will abound with blessings,”1 to start with.