Today is a day when the country is scrambling to get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving. All over the country you can hear vacuum cleaners running on rugs, pots and pats banging together, and gobs of food being thrown into fridges.
It’s a chaotic season. Over in Bangkok, our World Race team is being prevented from leaving the country by protests in the airport
. And here in America the airports and highways are jammed by a pell mell rush for home. Tomorrow our lives come cascading to a halt gathered around tables, ostensibly to give thanks to a deity many of us neither know nor trust.
Yet God wants to be known and trusted. When it comes to helping you understand a personal God who loves you deeply, few authors are better than Brennan Manning. In The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus
he tells the story of a man with 13 children who is asked which of them he loves the most. He answers that the one he loves the most was the one who needed him the most at the time.
God is like that – he loves those most who need him the most. Our need forces us to be dependent on him. We struggle to feel God’s love in America because we depend on him so little.
Manning observes that we need to be more secure in how God feels about us. God is genuinely fond of you. He’s not waiting for you to become more moral to start loving you.
Prayer is about letting yourself be loved. Manning says, “It’s like slipping into a tub of hot water and letting his love wash over us.” I sometimes go through the desert of my own passivity toward God, suffering a sense of distance as a result. But I rarely get mad at him or wonder if he can be trusted. I figure, “Hey, he set this thing up. He created me and wants to hang out with me, so it’s on me to reciprocate. If I’m too lazy or distracted to spend time with him, that’s my bad.”
So many of us struggle to trust God. We feel like he’s a benign, disengaged deity. We feel abandoned to cope with our throbbing pain. “How do I know that he really love me?” we ask. But when our need collides with his presence, it becomes an answer our heart’s deepest cry.