How important is conversation in a relationship? It doesn’t have to be much, but it does have to be something. Most of us enjoy a good long talk with a special person. Communication is part of building and maintaining a relationship.
I often refer to our relationship with Jesus. We connect with Him as our Friend, our Brother, our Lord. Yet, many people struggle with the conversation part. For some it is easier to keep God at a distance because they fear His judgment. For others, the distance is there because they simply don’t know anything else. God was always distant. But there is no relationship with someone who is so far away.
Our connection with Jesus, with God, is a real relationship. That means He is with us and we are with Him. But if we are together and never talk, is that really being together?
Now, I realize that’s a description of some marriages and families; and I understand that there are other ways to communicate than talking. But conversation is part of getting to know another person and entering into that person’s world. We could try to guess what someone thinks or feels, but we don’t know unless we know from them.
Over the past few Grace 101 posts, we have looked at things that hinder the message of grace and, lately, things that encourage it. The good ground is prepared with good support from others and by understanding the message God has already given to us. In “church-speak” that means fellowship and Scripture. Outside of a grace perspective these things have often been difficult for believers, but they are great blessings for those who are beginning to understand grace.
Another blessing we have, which will encourage the growth of our understanding of grace, is prayer. Again, I understand that prayer has been a burden for many because of the various rules and approaches prescribed by some teachers. But what if prayer was just talking, just conversation? What if it didn’t have to be formal all the time? We can envision conversations between spouses in old King James English, but that isn’t who we are. Why can’t our conversation with Jesus be just as relaxed as those with anyone close to us?
Well, there is one thing. We don’t hear His voice respond. We ask a question, but we don’t hear an answer. We express our concern about something, but He doesn’t seem to reply. As someone just told me, “I just felt emptiness. Like nothing was there.” What can you do when you can’t hear a voice?
I want to write about this in more depth over the next couple of posts, but let me give a simple answer here: God is not limited to words. When you listen for a response from Jesus, listen with more than your ears. Listen with your heart. Watch to see if things change. Open yourself to His answer. You are able to receive much more than what your ears can hear.
In the next few posts: Why legalists can’t hear God. How God speaks to us. Why grace makes all the difference. How to relax and just talk with Jesus. What to do when He is silent. Why prayer is vital for the life of grace.