A few days went by, then a couple of weeks, where I just didn’t connect with God.
I’d flick off my lamp, feeling cosy, satisfied and perfectly comfortable to shut my eyes and have a good sleep.
Nighttime was when I usually mulled over the day and would connect with God the best. I’d process and read, pray and think, and be recharged to tackle the following day through time spent with Him. Mornings were more of a snooze, haze and scramble.
Thoughts of God grew few and far between in those weeks, and I did little to place myself in the space of communing with Him. Listening, praying, conversing and reading to keep the relationship moving along felt like hard work. At times, it started to feel just a bit too invasive and confronting. Life was cruising, and I was satisfied.
It was two weeks deep into my cosy sleeping routine, the growing disconnect from Him hit me front on. It was a chasm. Any comfort I’d experienced in those preceding weeks quickly placed me on its edge. My lamp got turned back on.
I lay in bed, my attitude jaded by the sudden disruption to my new routine, unable to sleep comfortable and satisfied as I recently had. It was too late for digging deep to get to the bottom of what was going on. But the disconnect was unbearable.
I asked Him what was going on.
Immediately I was delivered a vivid picture.
It felt relaxed, simple and warm. It was unambiguous and filled my mind, peacefully.
The picture saw Jesus facing me at a table, his arms outstretched. He was pleased, kind and trustworthy. I sat opposite him, nearby, but my back twisted away. I was preoccupied with something. My gaze was fixed, and amusement consumed my face.
As I awoke the next morning, the picture returned.
‘What was it that was so fascinating?’, I asked, feeling full as I digested the picture.
The image zoomed in; away from Him and onto the object on which my gaze fixed. A small grey dust-collecting, mantelpiece-type object sat in my lap. Fascinated, I looked at it from different angles. The ornament was an idol.
Driving to work, I’d held off asking my next question. I was a little too certain I’d get another piece of the puzzle quickly and wasn’t sure I was ready for a hefty revelation ten minutes before I started a bunch of colonoscopies. But it felt safe to ask. The disconnect was grating. So I ventured further.
‘God, what’s that idol looking thing?’
He answered at the same time I asked. And I knew.
‘Remember your first love’, His warm and kind face front of me. Memories of the personal knowledge of His hope, His provision, His sacrifice, His grounding and His forgiveness surrounded me. I knew of a jealous passion.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
With six minutes to spare, I recognised what He’d already accomplished on the cross: complete and constant union with Himself. The relationship I’d crowned capable of bringing satisfaction needed to be put back on the mantelpiece, its function a gift to complement and be enjoyed. Nothing could compete with Jesus; nothing could wholly satisfy. The chasm was closed.
What replaced the chasm was a peaceful freedom to chose Jesus. It engulfed me. I felt free to read a favourite devotion, free to not; free to pray, free to not; free reflect and listen, free to not. Free from regime or quotas. But free to enjoy the abundant and unhindered connection with a God that gave it all, so that communing with Him led to the only true satisfaction around.
When I turned to look at His face, the choice was easy.