“Next stop…” It was the same stop as last time, and the time before that.
It used to be a bus to somewhere, but we had arrived. Now it was a bus to nowhere but here. I was low on supplies, but that likely wasn’t changing. Time to get off!
I did not know where to go, except away from the bus into the city before me.
As I entered it, the Lord sent three friends, who I met one by one. They encouraged me with their testimonies of His faithfulness in keeping his promises. “Keep trusting him and turning to him each day,” they said. I cannot tell you the depth of gratitude in me for their exhortation to hold fast to the Lord for myself during this time.
Know for certain: “The word of the Lord is true.”1
As I walked through that city, I began pondering how God supernaturally manifests His wisdom and knowledge in a person. I wanted real, divinely given, practical knowledge for my everyday life – for business, relationships, my family, etc. – and power to attain dreams seemingly out of reach.
These verses presented themselves before me: “Christ in you is the hope of glory2” and, “Christ [in you] has all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden in him.”3
Reflecting on them, I asked myself a question: if Jesus is in me, and all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden inside of Jesus inside of me, how do I access them? I figured if they make their residence inside me, I should be able to use them!
The Lord took it as a direct question, although I had asked myself, and He answered me. It came how His answers often do: on a relational journey, full of many small steps, observation, and lots of conversations.
Journeys are made with small steps!
I have found that whenever I make a personal request of God, He kicks off a process: another leg or part of the trip, so to speak. He often begins conversing with me immediately, while simultaneously working to bring about in me what He deems as sufficient personal maturity to appropriately handle the gifted answer.
This growth and maturation happens in the place of friendship, of intimacy, with God our Father, in the time spent together with him in the secret garden of our heart.
This is not just time spent physically alone with Him (e.g. your room, house, bathroom, car, on a walk, wherever), which is vitally important. It is also in the continual awareness of Him with you and in your heart throughout the day – at home with the kids, at work, in the frustrating office meeting, or sitting in traffic on the way to somewhere.4
Thomas Brooks, a significant mentor of Charles Spurgeon, asks, “Who only spends time with their spouse in public and never speaks to them at home?” Commenting on the necessity of a private relationship with God, he continues, “Where we disclose our deepest heart is in private with our beloved. How can we not do so with God who so loves us?” He further notes, it is the day-to-day journey with our beloved that makes the time alone more interesting and far sweeter; it is the time spent in secret with them that strengthens us for the day ahead. It is so with our Lord.5
These inward and outward facets of a relationship are the reciprocal muscles of love which allow for the fullest movement and happiest expression of our lives.
This is like a young child who, having the permission and encouragement of her parents to play on a brand new playset bought for her and her siblings, chooses to stay inside to be with them because she loves them and wants to be with them, enjoying their love and closeness. Over time, because she is with her parents more often, they grow closer and closer, and she learns from them stories about their lives, how and why they live, see life, and conduct their daily affairs. Her other siblings, still greatly beloved by their parents, learn less (not nothing) of them because they have chosen other encouraged pursuits.
But what is your choice?
This little girl gained access to the hidden treasures of her parents’ hearts because of her desire for connection and her decision to be present with them. Instead of taking advantage of these other gladly given and encouraged pursuits from her parents, she chose their companionship as not worth being compared to. From this choice she reaped the benefits of a greatly accelerated maturity, gaining from her parents wisdom, understanding, and practical knowledge. That, however, was only a byproduct of her deep joy in the sweet and familiar connection that had grown between them, which, of course, was her aim all along – and her parents’ great joy! It’s not that the other siblings did not know or love or want to be with their parents either. They were well known and loved! What made the difference was where they invested their time and the attention of their hearts.
Although it was not what I was initially looking for, I found the answer to my question was love.
Knowing this, I made a choice and shifted my priorities.
It was time to learn to be with Him.6
Father, as you invite me to be with you, I come. Here I am! For this your blood was shed, Jesus – that I would be with you always. Here am I! Holy Spirit, you continually pour your love into my heart from within. Let me experience this so that I overflow with love for you in return.
- Ps. 12:6, 33:4; Jn. 14:6; Mt. 12:34; Lk 6:45
- Col. 1:27
- Col. 2:3
- Mt. 28:20; Ps. 139
- Thomas Brooks, The Privy Key of Heaven
- Psalm 105:4