“Long ago the LORD said to Israel:
‘I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love.
With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.'”
Jeremiah 31:3 NLT
When I turned 18 and had my first opportunity to vote, I felt completely lost. I didn’t even know where to begin researching candidates. I wasn’t even sure who all my options were, let alone where to find un-biased information on each one. Finally, I discovered a way to be an informed voter one step at a time. I decided to choose ONE issue that I care deeply about, research each candidate’s stance on that ONE issue, and vote based upon that ONE issue. It’s not a perfect solution, but for me, it was a great way to get my feet wet.
I just talked with someone about this last night – a high school student who will soon be one of our voting generations. As I shared my experience, it occurred to me that getting to know God can be done one step at a time, too.
Step 1: Choose ONE issue. If God is real and it is actually possible to know him, what do I want to know about him? Just like with the voting example, make it an issue that allows you to participate in voting, rather than just get stuck in my individual vote doesn’t actually make a difference world. For me, the ONE issue was: Does God actually love me? ME. I know he loves EVERYONE, but does he love me uniquely and separately from everyone else. Am I special to him?
Step 2: Get your answer straight from THE source. God wrote the Bible. Sure, humans held the pen – or whatever they used to write with – but God created the thoughts that they penned. Read it. All of it. Start with a New Testament Gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John) and as you read, ask God to bless you with his answers to your ONE issue.
Step 3: Do not assign a deadline to your quest. It might take an entire lifetime to grasp the fullness of God’s answer to your ONE issue. I didn’t fully understand my Mom’s love for me until I became a Mom myself. However that didn’t stop me from enjoying what I DID understand of it every moment before that day.
I still get answers to my ONE issue today even though I’ve been a Christian my whole life. This week it was while I was reading Jeremiah 31. I read:
“Long ago the LORD said to Israel: ‘I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.'” (Jeremiah 31:3 NLT)
Even though these words were written long before me, in that moment as I read them, I knew they were for me. It was as familiar to my soul as the smell of mac n cheese is to my childhood happy place. God loves me with an unfailing love. I am his people. He has loved me with an everlasting love. He draws me close to himself.
Before I even realized it, I was no longer just testing the waters, I’d jumped in with both feet and am walking in it daily. And there is nothing else like it!!
Dear Lord, thank you for loving me and knowing me together with your other dearly loved children, but also also offering me a unique, 1:1 relationship with you. Thank you for reminding me of your love for me every single day and helping my one issue transform into my firm foundation one step at a time. Amen.