There's a very useful and (to me) unusual aspect of my relationship with God. It has to do with how long it takes for my lessons to flourish. In my previous, professional life and in my personal life, the people who were the toughest to connect with, they were the ones who I eventually built the deepest relationships with. The best relationships that last, they often come with the most challenging uphill battles.
Why do strong relationships grow from hardship within them?
Every relationship, be it a with a coworker, friend, family member, child, etc, has different levels of interaction. Naturally, the more interactive with someone we are, meaning, the more we get into deep conversations and affections, the more we uncover true bonds with them. Naturally, the more bonds, the more chance of fallout. I think as we get more comfortable with each other, there is more chance of things coming out that challenge the relationship.
When we find reasons to hang on with each other through hardship, we find ways to duck, bob and weave around that hardship. We find those ways together, and the next time the problematic issue creeps in, we’re more prepared to handle each other’s reactions. That creates teamwork. Teamwork creates companionship. And on the level of the soul, it serves better communication and common ground.
What this has to do with God
Everything. My relationship with him, in many ways, it’s like any bond with any other close persona in my life. I’ve hit plenty of moments when I’m angry with him, mostly like a child who can’t understand why I got in trouble for painting the cat, but still angry. And as the stupid human I can sometimes be, I know he’s been angry with me.
But because God has always answered me with love and wisdom, even when I’ve (abstractly) painted his cat, I choose his system to strive for. So I get angry at him, he gets angry at me, he tells me to calm down and listen then pours a slew of wisdom into my life. When I accept, my brain and heart swell. Then God and I move on together, closer than we were a short moment before.
What this has to do with me
In the past I’ve been a difficult person for God to pull toward him. I’ve rebelled, pulled away, justified poor behavior and turned down important, divine lessons. There were long periods for me when I took on the role of the critic, often to the point of complete non-belief. But what God did for me was to be a true father, a true friend, to stand behind me and push even when I would barely budge.
This world is often mean and unforgiving, but I’m a child and children learn by example. So by his example, more recently, I’ve learned to stick with others as long as possible, even as their worst unfolds. God taught me that great relationships often start by reaching a hand down in the turmoil, waiting for a potential loved one to grab it. That’s what he did for me. The best way I can say “thank you” is to do it for as many of my brothers and sisters as possible.
This is a two fold module. On one side, it was about noticing God’s hand, pushed through the clouds that prevented me from seeing what was above. This was one of my biggest leaps of faith, grabbing and trusting the hand that reached down, until I could confirm this was the right thing to do. That was a hard one, especially since I had no recognizable signs of instant gratification.
There’s another way to reach back that I now regularly practice. I do something that sometimes causes shock when I tell other people, I reach back and offer my hand to God. This happens in two ways, one is to extend a hand to my nearest kin, helping others by giving out information. The other is direct prayer for God himself.
I don’t think he needs us for his happiness or comfort. The guy’s a total genius and has enough wisdom to fill a world and beyond (if we’d let him). Still, we’ve been created in his image. That means potentially… healthy, positive things that make us happy also make him happy. So I don’t just push for improvement of myself and my universal communities, I pray for him. I pray for God to feel the love of those who reach for him. I pray for him to have help in coping with what must be a tremendous amount of pain he has to feel, seeing his children do what we do to each other.
What we can do with all of this information
Use it. For one, know that God gets us, no matter how ridiculous our behavior can be. He acts out of love, in spite of all of our judgement and arrogance toward each other. Whatever each of us may have learned about God’s potential lack of forgiveness and concern for us, as individuals, it comes from human sources and it’s as wrong as wrong gets.
People often believe that other people are disposable, but God believes we’re all redeemable. Of course there are the myths about how God wants us to hurt others who’ve hurt others (Think about that cycle for a moment, an article about that is coming.). Truth is, what he wants to see is walls breaking, toppled over like dominoes until none stand.
I’ve seen many of those moments when forgiveness comes and relationships turn from hostile to open. It’s better than fireworks, bigger than a parade, more fulfilling than new car in the drive. The connections that come within those relationships are lasting, even through distance, lack of contact and the stretch of time.
The Wrap up
Standing in the midst of a turmoil infested relationship, it sometimes feels like driving up a steep hill with all flat tires. But with patience, understanding toward the actions and thoughts of others, and practice, we can turn those moments into gifts. Such romances, friendships, families and teams have the potential to become the strongest of all.
When it comes to you and God, having questions, fallouts and disbelief can end with the most significant relationship you may ever have. He answers just about everything with love, be it anger, sadness, rebellion or even positive action. That’s rare. That’s something I don’t want to be without in any world, especially this one.