Twenty-one years ago, at 5 a.m. or so, in the crisp darkness of a Napa Valley morning, I physically met my wife to be. In some ways it would be fun to describe a romantic setting, flowing strings, love at first sight, and love seeping from every corner. In might be fun and true for some but not for me. The night morning was very still, crisp, a hint a fog lingering in the air, and we were both very tense with anticipation. In too many ways, we carried our expectations and fears, our confident knowledge of what outward appearances were signs of being with it. Our first encounter shattered our images and forced us to examine our values, priorities, and interests. What followed was nothing short of magical!
I look back and wonder just what happened during our first few hours together. Clearly I did not know how Cherry looked at the world, what made things cool, how I should dress, or wear my hair. Her knowledge of my world was just as short! Decades later the emotions I remember are excitement and a sense of belonging together from the moment we met. I knew I had found my partner, my best friend, and someone who would challenge and defend me in every moment to follow. I knew I belonged.
I find myself not giving God the same kind of space. He must approach people in certain ways – through a church, in a worship setting, and with the right steps to conversion. It is a given, of course, that people must learn the right theology, adhere to the correct disciplines, and live with “God’s” parameters before they begin there journey. “Or do you think it possible that the blessing could be given to those who never even heard of our ways, who were never brought up in the disciplines of God?” (Romans 4.9)
Actually, I think exactly that! I believe we gain a sense of belonging in our first encounter with God. Once we see God, nothing else matters, other than being with Her!