When You Just Want to Feel God

I sat in this quiet cafe’ over a grilled  ham and cheese while my friend told me her story. How all her growing up years, she knew God was real but she just couldn’t get why He was so intangible. Because, she just wanted to feel Him. To reach out and take a hold of Him somehow. But, she never could. And as I looked in her eyes, I could feel her ache. I had wondered it too, remembering how I’d laid in my bed on quiet nights, tears streaming with the deepest pain in my chest. And on those nights, I’d reached up, arms open wide, just wanting God to embrace me. Aching to be held. So many times, I’d wished I could crawl up in His lap, closing that cosmic gap between us. It had sent my heart pounding for heaven, in the wildest way.

And as she poured out bits and pieces of her soul, I sat there mesmerized. Could this be the same girl who had intimidated me for years? The one who, when I first met her, seemed to have this neon sign blinking out the message, “Don’t mess with me. I don’t need you!”, across her forehead? Sometime between then and now, there had been this softening of her countenance. And we were there, sipping coffee together because she had reached out to me. So, I listened attentively to every word she said. And as she spoke, she had this fiery passion.

She told me how this girl she met had began pursuing a friendship with her. Not in a weird, stalking kind of way, but in a deep abiding kind of way. She’d call her and text her and try to figure out ways to spend time with her, and all the while, *Reagan, my friend with the neon sign–she’d just run away. While, *Lacy, the girl with the pursuing love, just wouldn’t relent. No matter how nasty or ugly of a response, Lacy kept chasing after. And she’d say things like, “I love you. I really do. God’s given me this love deep down in my heart for you. So, no matter what you do, I’m still gonna love you.” And she would. Because Reagan tried all kinds of scare-away tactics. But Lacy would quietly and persistently pursue. And for the first time in her life, Reagan found out what it meant to be unconditionally loved.

And after a while of this, the walls in Reagan’s heart tumbled down and the mask came off and the fear fled away. Because when you’ve been sought after and loved fully, even after you’re fully known, well, there’s just something healing about that. And as I listened to her, I could see it–how abiding love had taken down the neon sign and filled her features all full of light. The warm sort of welcoming light. The kind that throws the front door of a heart open and invites people in.

Then she put the story all together for me. How Jesus came to her through the love of this friend. She leaned in and her words ricocheted right through me. “Maggie! Let me tell you…I finally felt Jesus! He loved me in a way that I could feel it through this friend! Lacy loved me with a pursuing, unconditional, abiding love! Now, tell me that’s not the love of Jesus right there!”

There was this gleam in her eyes. She testified and I’m a witness. Jesus loves us. He really, really loves us. And He wants us to feel it. But, for here, for now, the way we might most feel Jesus is through each other’s hands and feet. We’re these vessels He uses to pour His passionate love out on a broken world. Jesus comes to us through people. And He loves people through us. His redeeming love is our theme. It’s what moves our blood through our veins. So we smile on the sidewalk. Send a letter in the mail. Bend low to pick up and scape off and tenderly embrace.

We are the loved ones who can’t help but run after, because Jesus is in us and He won’t relent.

And somewhere along the way we begin to feel it. Him scooping us up into His lap and we are held.

*Changed my friend’s names, just to be polite. : )

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