You don't need answers to all of your problems as much as you need to know who I Am for you. You don't need solutions as much as you need to see My face.
God gave me these words several months ago, during one of my encounters with Him, when I came pleading for the right path to take in a certain area of my life. When most of us go to God, we want solutions for our life's problems. We want Him to tell us what to do, where to go, with whom we should spend our hours, and how to pray.
My desire for solutions is sometimes birthed out of a fear that I won't be taken care of by God; that I'll make a terrible mistake if I don't hear Him right. The quest for answers comes cloaked in humility as I tell myself that I'm just trying to be obedient to God. But in reality, what I want is control over my life.
But sometimes His solution is simply for me to sit with Him. To find safety in His lap. To be with Him, knowing that He will never leave nor forsake me- because in knowing Him I find the way.
Increasingly, I'm realizing that I don't need solutions for all of my problems as much as I need His presence. Today, as I received prayer in the healing rooms at one of the most powerful and Spirit-filled churches in the nation, I told my two compassionate prayer ministers that I would rather continue to suffer with health problems my entire life than miss out on knowing how much God loves me.
I'm that convicted about it now, but I also know that the more of His love that I receive, the more I will be healed, and the more that life will go well for me- at least, inwardly.
When I traveled to Bethel this week to receive prayer for physical healing, I was aware that God would probably be working more on my spirit than on my body. Bethel is known worldwide for its healing miracles, and while my limbs ache to be fully healed, my soul longs for an even deeper healing.
And so it has been this week, that God has been cementing into my soul the reality that freedom lies in intimacy with Him; in knowing the Who of life so I can navigate the What and How of life.
I've fervently pursued a relationship with God for over a decade now, but much of this relationship has been based upon my suffering, and a sorry-please-thank you list, designed to get Him to move on my behalf, that I might be freed from a lifetime of bondage to soul sickness and physical infirmity.
Unfortunately, the influence of unhealthy relationships in my life has created within me a tendency to pursue the bondage of a performance-based relationship with God, which is based upon a list of "To do's" and pleas to rescue me (as if He were reticent to do so).
As I received prayer today from the healing ministers, I realized that my moments of climbing into God's lap have been too few; that dancing and laughing with Him and sensing His delight over me as I do what He's created me to do, have been the exception rather than the rule. That while I share everything with Him, I struggle to see Him at times as my best friend and my beloved Papa- as the One who desires to dote upon me, play with me, and hold me in His arms.
And yet, these are the kinds of things that He longs to do with His children. But suffering has blinded me, and at times, I have viewed the trials that I have gone through as confirmation of His disapproval of me (never mind that the Bible teaches that all those who are obedient to God will endure trials!).
It's hard to sit in Papa's lap when an undercurrent of His (apparent) disapproval colors your conscience red with shame.
Fortunately, the longer I walk with the Lord, the more He sets me free from shame and performance-based relationship. And this week at Bethel, He invited me again to lay aside my grief, and relate to Him in new ways that transcend my suffering and need to "do it all right."
Just be , He kept saying to me. Just be.
I want to know what it looks like to be daily embraced by my Daddy. To sense His pleasure over me. To walk with Him in the cool of the evening, without an agenda. To talk to Him about life, without a laundry list of requests filling up the minutes.
Don't get me wrong. God delights in requests, and that we would come to Him for solutions to all of life's issues, but a relationship with Him isn't meant to be task-oriented.
Today, God also revealed to one of my ministers that I used to draw and paint as a child. I was a gifted artist in my youth (so much so that my kindergarten art teacher contacted my parents after I had reached adulthood, just to find out whether I had become an artist!). My parents told him no, but that my sister had become a professional painter. Still, I loved creating art, and through the prayer minister, God said to me, I loved to watch you paint. I delighted in the works you created.
And as I received those prophetic words, and many others, I felt another layer of my performance onion getting peeled, and I got another glimpse of what it means to walk in intimate relationship with God.
God doesn't ask us to know how to do relationship with Him. He doesn't demand that we be saints. He doesn't expect us to know how to love others, and to walk in obedience. We can only give Him who we are- and that includes all of our garbage, pain and emotional baggage, and expect Him to cleanse and heal us. The wounded soul cannot heal itself, and I'm learning that God doesn't need my efforts to receive His love, because striving to give and receive love is a hallmark sign of performance-based relationship.
He must pour it into me, and break down the walls that I, by my efforts, cannot tear down. My job is only to come to Him, trusting that He will do as He has promised. To set this captive free. For He has said, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7, NIV).
Sometimes, receiving is a process, and the door seems to linger ajar, but He who is faithful has promised to redeem His saints.
May He show us all how to relate to Him as a loving Father, friend and lover, and may He help us to cast works-based relationship by the wayside.