I have questions about my life that I don’t know how to answer.
Sometimes I get to thinking. Thinking about the ways to understand the mystery that surrounds my existence that cannot always be characterized by something or somebody. Things that aren’t tangible or easily defined.
I think all of us, at some point or another, can’t help but try to grasp the purpose behind our lives. Most things can fall into neat little categories: our self, our relationships, our work, our beliefs, our finances. Some things, though, do not. And today there was a message about the things that fall outside of what we know and understand.
It’s that message that I want to share with you because it moved me.
This message came from Adam Hamilton, pastor at Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas. (http://www.cor.org)
My life has been a spiritual journey with its ups and downs, and all the while I have tried desperately to understand, to feel, and to fall into a faith that tries to teach us meaning.
And this morning, when Adam began to wrestle with the all-powerful questions that surround the purpose and meaning of our lives, I listened closely, hoping for answers.
The answer, it turns out, is surprisingly simple.
First, to be loved by and to love God. Second, to love and to serve others.
Adam shared a story about his own family that would form within me a deep understanding of God’s reason for our existence. More importantly, it allowed me to relate to my relationship with Him.
Adam’s daughters, when they were very young (age 4 or 5), were infatuated with their Daddy- following him everywhere, clinging to his legs as he walked in the door from a long day at work. They gave kisses, bear hugs, and snuggled right before bedtime. But, as they grew older to age 12 or 13, the girls no longer wanted to hold hands to cross the street. They no longer gave those bear hugs when Adam returned from work. In-fact, it was almost as if they were embarrassed of their Dad. When they were at the mall, they walked ten feet in front of him. It seemed that the years when they bonded so closely as a family were suddenly erased. Adam would reach out, but they would turn away.
The only time they would call him Daddy anymore was to ask for money or for a ride to the movies. When they needed something…
The teen years came and went for Adam’s little girls.
… And finally, when they were 20 or so, they came back to Adam. Back to their Daddy. Back to the bear hugs, back to their close relationship, appreciation, and love that had been gone for years.
Does that sound like your relationship with God? It did for me.
If it’s more convenient to live selfishly, then it’s natural to slowly turn away from our Father. This happened to me during many of my teenage years and into my 20’s. My life style contradicted my faith, and I thought I could handle the world on my own because I had things figured out.
Just like Adam’s little girls, I turned away from my Father. And this never meant more to me than it has lately. Like any loving father, God simply wants a relationship with us. He wants us to come running into his arms. If we have turned away, He understands. But simply, He just wants us back.
He is our Father. And like any parent, I think Adam’s story about his own daughters allows us to relate…
Think about the reasons why you want(ed) to be a parent. You want to have a baby because you have love in your heart to give; and it’s that same love that you want to receive back from your son or daughter. Well, God is no different.
God, in creating our universe, wanted also to create a being that He could love unconditionally. A creature so amazing that they could consciously recognize God’s love and give it back in return. A loving parent’s relationship with their child, in many ways, is the same as our God’s relationship with us. Love, forgiveness, and grace.
I remember, during an Easter church service a few years ago, making the decision to run back into God’s arms. Melissa and I declared our love for Him- because we realized we could not handle the weight of this world and this life by ourselves. We came to him, we returned to him.
The pure joy and fulfillment that came from that decision and that moment has transcended and changed my life in so many ways. It has been a gigantic ripple throughout.
So when I’m reminded and explained about our purpose in life, I’m humbled.
Be loved by and to love God.