When I first started going to church as a child, I had no faith. My attendance was required by my mother and strictly academic. That’s when I learned Bible stories and Bible verses and had cookies and punch. I was learning about God. I never met Him.
Later on, I visited another church with a friend and I met Jesus. It was startling to know that I could have an actual relationship with Him after all those years of learning Bible stories. But still, my knowledge of Him was somewhat distant. Like seeing a friend you recognize and across the park and waiving to him.
For most of my adult life, God was someone I recognized across the park. I never got close enough to shake hands and sit and talk. Oddly, I acted like I knew Him well, like people who pretend to be friends with celebrities. Only, I didn’t realize that I didn’t know Him well. I thought I did.
And when my life ran into pain and trouble, I wasn’t close enough to God to let Him help. I still thought that waiving from across the park was fine, but my life was in a panic. God could not help me because I wasn’t close enough to hear Him talking.
Transition happened and I found myself in a church where I learned how far from God I had really been living. I made the decision to get close to Him, but it felt a little awkward. I realized that I didn’t know Him as well as I thought I did. I had to start over.
But it was good for me. I learned to hear His voice. I learned to recognize when He was near. I could have conversations with Him and get feedback. I had crossed the park and could sit comfortably with Him on a bench.
But recently, I have come to realize that I’m still not as close as I thought I was. Jesus is constantly calling me closer. At first I thought, but I am aren’t I? And He keeps calling. Then it dawned on me. Just like waiving from across the park, I don’t realize now how much distance is still between us.
Even if I were standing nose to nose with the Lord, He would still call me closer. You can literally step into Him and dive into His presence. And when you dive in, you can still go deeper and deeper.
There is never a stopping point in your relationship with God. If you do stop, you miss out on so much. Everyday, there is more. He’s calling you closer all the time.