My friend and I hung out last weekend, and she brought her little one along for the ride. For the sake of this post, I’ll call wee one, Nala.
You see, I loved Nala long before I met her. Every time I placed my palm on her mother’s womb and felt her move, it sent a jolt of joy to my heart. Nala’s mom and I would talk about her for hours imagining her facial features, and personality. More than anything, we wanted her to come into the world and fall right into the stable arms of love. Nestled in folds of comfort.
While she baked, we prepared.
Nala must have shared in our excitement, because whilst mom was on yellow, she saw green. Out she came, many weeks earlier than planned. I was there with mom for a routine check up when her MD said, “you will not be going home today.”
One year and some months later (blame COVID), I finally met Nala.
I half expected Nala to recognize me, but who was I kidding. Nala welcomed me with a suspicious gaze. She watched my every move, ready to scream if she thought I was a little too close for her liking. Nala would not give me the time of the day. Not even so much as a smile. Mom was able to cajole her into saying hi, which got me a short wave from a safe distance. I accepted the possibility that that was all I was going to get. It brought me so much joy to see Nala. Yet, in a way I can’t quite explain, it hurt that Nala did not instinctively run into my arms.
It took hours, but in time, Nala’s walls came down. She finally saw that I was not a threat. In fact, it is possible that in the short time spent together, she knew I loved her. At the end of our hang out, I got the best surprise. Nala gave me a hug (and mehn did she put her back into it). It was one that lingered, and lingered, lasting longer than I thought it would. Finally, she felt safe.
Days later, while fussing over something, the Holy Spirit brought Nala to mind. I got to thinking about how it must hurt God when we do not trust Him. When instead of running toward Him, we turn and run from Him. When He reaches out to us, and we scurry away in fear. When He speaks, and we raise a brow in suspicion. When He offers the safest place that there is, and we choose a lesser alternative. If I felt the blow of Nala’s initial rejection as much as I did, how much more our heavenly Father when we reject Him?
I am getting to know Nala, much like with anyone I meet through the course of my life. But try as I may, there won’t be enough time to know all there is to know about any one person. Here is a God who says, I foreknew you. That means, before you and I were a thought in the minds of our parents, and all the individuals we meet along the way, He knew us.
My friend became aware of Nala only after she peed on the stick, and it read positive. I became aware of Nala only when her mother told me she was pregnant. In this scenario, both mom and I were late in the game. While we were yet coming to terms with the idea of this gift, the giver of the gift had been working in the background. Baby Nala was never breaking news to God.
God knows everything there is to know about us. So why do we continue to look to other sources for answers? Why is it easier to say no to God, or stay a ‘safe’ distance away, than it is another human? Why do we not trust God?
Nala’s walls came down after spending time with me. I was around her mother for months before her arrival. But that was not enough for Nala to feel safe with me. Before our hangout, Nala had seen my face periodically on facetime. She had also on occasion heard my voice. Her mom had sparingly mentioned me to her…that’s aunty Michelle, mom would say. But given all of that, even with her best efforts, Nala could still not pinpoint my voice in a crowd. Not like she would her mothers. She first had to know me personally.
Trust does not happen out of thin air. It requires relationship, which demands the investment of time. It is only natural that my bond with Nala will grow stronger the more time we spend together (commune). However, my consistency will determine just how strong. But as we build intimacy, she will no longer think twice before running into my arms because now, she recognizes me. She knows me. She trusts me.
That is the difference between knowing about God and knowing God.
What do you have to sacrifice to spend time with God this week? Whatever it is, do it. The answers you seek will come when you linger in His presence. There is a lot of shape shifting happening in the world. Its scary to think how much more is to come. Your Father’s arms is the safest, most loving, reliable place to be. He wants REAL relationship with you. This is so that when He calls or reaches out, you know it is Him and instinctively lean in. Again, push the performance to the side. Leave your heart on the table. That is ALL He wants.