… is more intimate than with my wife
I’ll attempt to explain this madness, comparing cliché theory with my personal experience.
My Relationship with Tanja
… is great and getting better. Tanja is my life companion. We’ve been married for
21 24 23 years a while now 😉 We’ve raised three amazing children and are mum and dad to many more. We have our ups and downs – Tanja can be really annoying and often doesn’t appreciate my perfection 😉 We provide for each other and complement each other’s weaknesses. We enjoy serving God together, although in rather different ways. Sex is good and regular (I’ll spare you the details) reinforcing the bond I’ve experienced with no other. We both struggle at times – often covering for each other, or just struggling together. Occasionally life is perfect – for a moment. Most nights we watch a TV episode together to wind down with some cuddle time before going to sleep. We love each other and find comfort in the assurance that will grow old together in this God-given bond.
My Relationship with God
… really knows no beginning; or end. My mum and dad were always pastors in the Salvation Army church. I recall around the age of seven reasoning that for me to deny God’s existence, I’d logically first have to deny my own for there is no other reasonable explanation for my own existence.
I’m usually aware of God’s presence. Often in a quiet moment, at random, I feel his wash of inner peace encompass me. When I choose to indulge in temptation, it is usually in awareness and blatant rejection of God’s displeasure.
I’ve never seen God nor heard his voice clearly speaking to me – not even in a dream. The only spiritual vision or dream I’ve ever had is seeing my dad’s late father in a vivid dream. He looked healthy, happy and at peace, with no degradation from age. I only saw him some meters away, but it is an immense comfort when contemplating death. I’ve had a similar dream of my mum’s mother.
I believe in the miraculous, but I’ve never experienced a miracle – an occurrence that defies natural experience (scientific reasoning) I’ve heard numerous such stories, even of the dead being brought back to life.
I spend a lot of time with God. Since my teenage years, I’ve generally read a bit of the Bible daily. I think I’ve read it cover to cover about 15 times. I also serve in various churchy things, although these can become a religious distraction away from relationship with God. Being a pastor’s kid, I’ve heard so many sermons from an amazing teacher. This all provides a solid foundation for me to build my own relationship with God.
God has planted in me a desire to understand the big picture of space-time. Over the past years, I’ve spent heaps of time YouTubing creation science, historical empires, church history, end times. God plants questions in my heart such as “what were things like at the time of Noah” and “why did God demand the genocide of the Canaanites”. I delight in finding answers to such questions. I have a cynical interpretation of “Seek first God’s kingdom and all your desires will be fulfilled” because one who seeks first godliness desires only that. It’s circular reasoning and seems rather self-serving of God 😉
More recently, God has provided a steady stream of Israeli backpackers, whom I could interrogate 😉 regarding their traditions and the roots of my relationship. I can also validate linguistic claims of preachers from YouTube.
I get the picture of an idyllic shepherd and me being his sheep. I’m part of the flock that hears his voice, can’t have a direct conversation with him as with my own kind, but somehow get the drift of what he wants. I perceive the direction he’s leading us, although sometimes slow to follow. I don’t know where we’re going, but I know beyond any doubt that he holds my welfare above all else – even when he seems to hurt me.
I experience God’s leading when I prepare worship for church. Leading up to the night, certain songs come to mind, which I include. Often I get the idea of some other expression of worship to include such as a whiteboard for people to write/draw on. Once I felt God telling me to prepare no songs – just to flow with the moment – that week I prepared more than ever in my heart to compensate ;-). When I play and/or sing, it is in faith that I’m doing God’s pleasure. People often comment on how this enhances their connection with God and supports the preaching I play behind. I often sing in tongues – that is languages that I’ve not learned – through the enabling of God’s spirit. In jazz music, this is similar to skat: “a vocal improvisation with wordless vocables, nonsense syllables or without words at all. In scat singing, the singer improvises melodies and rhythms using the voice as an instrument rather than a speaking medium.” However “tongues” is quite different – a sign of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Jesus’ disciples at the birth of the church. This has resurged in certain churches in recent generations – and caused some contention. I consider singing in tongues a beautiful art-form that God has given me to bless others. This enhances my music spiritually as an act of faith. I’ve yet to have someone tell me they’ve understood their native language, but many have strongly sensed God’s presence through this gift. Feel free to ask for a demo.
Often God impresses me with a new perspective. Typically this is the conjunction of acquired knowledge from reading the Bible, or other stuff, YouTubing, conversations and time to let the soup simmer. Often I get the start of it and work it out like this article, which I’ve now spent 3 hours writing after a few week’s contemplation. Whether I feel God prompting certain action or I’m presented with some new perspective, I measure this against his word – the Bible. If it contradicts the Bible, then it’s not of God.
I have been with Tanja for half my life. I have known God all my life.
Death will separate me and Tanja for a time, but unite me with God face to face.
Tanja and I provide for each other. God provides for me as I do those around me – particularly his people.
I spend a couple of waking hours a day with Tanja. God is always with me.
I say goodnight to Tanja and contemplate God as I drift off to sleep. When I’m sleepless, my head races from one thing to another often contemplating God. Reading the bible on my phone helps focus and rest my mind. As I awake, God is right there to talk to while I procrastinate getting out of bed and Tanja continues sleeping.
I’m reminded of Rebecca going to marry Isaac. Abraham sent his servant to northern Syria to acquire a wife from his relatives. Eleazar prayed that God would show him Isaac’s bride through the fulfillment of a certain sign. He presented her with lavish gifts, supporting the occasional news they’d have from travelers. She chose to leave her family’s comfortable, yet idolatrous lifestyle and journey to the foreign land that is now Israel to become the wife of a humble, godly man. When she saw her groom afar off, she concealed her face and walked towards her husband to enter into their bridal chambers.
I pray that this provides some insight.
Blessings and Shalom