1 John 4:19 We love because He first loved us.
I knew, when I met my wife, that she was the one. I was just absolutely convinced that she was the woman I was going to marry. She did not reciprocate this sentiment. For seven years. For seven years, I pursued. When she did begin to reciprocate, I did not realize it at first. When she finally wanted to get together and talk seriously, I thought she must have some horrible life-altering news to tell me. I just could not quite grasp that she loved me. When it finally did sink in, I was filled with an indescribable joy.
I think that is something like the sentiment that we should feel towards God when we begin to comprehend his love for us. When we stop and think about it, we should realize what a fantastic reality John is describing. God has literally made heaven and earth and given of himself unto death, to reveal his love for us. He has created us in his image with the capacity to return that love to him. He wants us to want him. In our love for him, He finds pleasure.
My father-in-law, who has passed away, used to insist that the first thing we need to comprehend about God is that He is a person. As a person, He knows us and as a person, we can know him. This faith is about a radically intimate relationship with him which is to be more real to us than any temporal relationship. We are to talk with him, listen to him and cultivate this relationship by spending time and energy on it.
Just as I need to take time everyday to connect with my wife and my children, I need to take time everyday to connect with God. In fact, as God is everywhere, I can learn to walk through my day in constant connection with him. I do not do it well, but like Peter, I can learn to walk on the water of this life, navigating the storms, while keeping my focus on Christ. The fact that I so often sink reveals that I do not do it well, but I continue to work at it.
I am to love God as He first loved me. If a I do not feel a need or desire for God, I should pray that He would reveal to me my need. I should pray that He fill me with his love. It is only in being filled with his love that I can begin to return love to him. I love him because he first loved me.
If I want to have a deep, authentic relationship with God, it is not a mystery. I need to spend time and energy cultivating the relationship. I need to read, pray, meditate, and listen. As I start, it will not be natural, but as I continue, I begin to know his voice and I begin to feel, hear and know his presence. Once I begin to comprehend it, I want it all the more.