Sometimes when I come to pray to God, words spill out in a rush. Such a day was today.
I am painfully aware of my lack of self-discipline, as I need to look for a job, as I need to clean the house, as I need to lovingly encourage my husband. I find it so hard to get up and work--and though discipline is something you must exercise, and really I should just get up and do it, I find myself empty and unmotivated.
I am painfully aware of my cold-heartedness as well. My husband has been endlessly surrounding me with romance and delight these last few days, and I see myself slow to respond. I love him so much--so why do I still get easily angry, why do I still ignore him for petty entertainment, why do I still underestimate his needs?
Sensing that perhaps a deeper problem was my lack of a prayer life over the past week, I decided to start there. I went into the bedroom and fell down before God, and words began to pour out in a jumble. "Oh God, I'm so pathetic and undisciplined and I need you and I miss you and I saw this really cool movie last week, there was this one scene where... oh! I'm can't pay attention to you, what's wrong with me, God why isn't this working, I need your help, my husband and I played this really cool game last night..."
How casually I (and how casually we...!) sometimes approach God. As though he were not really God. Jesus' humanity and approachability is so much in the forefront of my mind that I forget God's holiness, his supremacy, his zealous nature. And so intimacy suffers.
The same thing happens between my husband and me. I become so familiar with him that I forget who he is. I approach him casually, as though he were just the guy I happened to be living with. I ignore his deeper nature and treat him as though he were merely a conglomerate of needs and services. And in the midst of the whirlwind of "I made your favorite dinner, when will you be home tomorrow?, I wish you'd turn off the football and snuggle with me, where are my keys?, I miss you, hey I saw this really cool game yesterday" . . . intimacy suffers.
Intimacy--when I can touch his spirit, and he can touch mine. It is so closely bound up with holiness--that fire of purity beheld with awe, that nature so terribly set apart and radiant. To be intimate with my husband, I see his spirit and his nature, and I approach him as holy and precious. Intimacy is not casual. It is not achieved when I pour out my mind willy-nilly because I think so little of my husband that I do not care what he thinks of me. That is casual nakedness, and though it is as naked as true intimacy, it is precisely the opposite. In such a case, though we seemingly bare everything, we do not touch each other. Intimacy is reverent, respectful, it despises boundaries, but it regaurds the other has holy, as precious.
It is that way with God, too.
Guard your steps as you go to the house of God, and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know they are doing evil. Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is on heaven and you are on earth; therefore let your words be few. For the dream comes through much effort and the voice of a fool through many words.
God is holy. And though he is approachable, though he loves me, though I should not hide who I am or try to cover up my corrupt nature... I should always remember that I am talking to the creator of the universe, the final judge, the architect of history, the God whose holy radiance blinds and consumes. Moses dared to ask to be shown the glory of God, and God showed him his back, but could not safely allow him to see his face.
Remember who God is! He is the God who will have no less than utter faithfulness, who will rule supreme in my heart and share with no rival. He is the God who commands love, and who himself loves so grandly that he would die for us while we were still sinners. Read the zealous judgements of Jesus in the first few chapters of Revelation, and listen to the thundering voice of the jealous God on Sinai.
Shall I casually approach such a God?