• sibyllezion

"I want to know you"- about closeness and trust into the invisible

Updated: Apr 10





My dear friends,


Many years ago I met my husband.


It was a meeting in a rather unusual place for Christian marriages - in a punk rock underground club in Cologne, which was also called: "Underground".


When I met Armin, things went haywire with us. Somehow- we both knew from the beginning that this was "meant to be" with us. But we both shied away from the romance that was waiting. Found excuses, danced around the bush, found reasons why not. Alone: for some reason, we felt boundless trust in each other without really knowing each other. It wasn't what you would describe with fireworks and butterflies- no: it was coming home, and a cozy fire burning in the fireplace. A candle on the windowsill guiding and welcoming the wanderer.


Alone, the romance that everyone talks about and that is so indispensable when you fall in love, somehow- failed to materialize. It was a little tense between us, sometimes conversations bumped, and somehow we liked each other and then we noticed yet- something is missing.


At some point, after a few weeks, there was a discussion.


Both of us had escaped from a not exactly beneficial relationship. Both of us had loved in vain, cared in vain, and were left empty.

"Jesus says it makes sense with us, do you hear that?" "Yes, but somehow it doesn't work out."

"But if Jesus wills it, the rest will come, won't it? After all, He knows us better than we know ourselves."


We talked about fear. Fear of getting involved again. Fear of closeness. Fear of being left in shambles again.


And suddenly we looked at each other and said, "Maybe we just need to..decide. Decide to accept what Jesus wants to give us."


We did, and after that- started a romance beyond compare. I have never been courted like that. He never felt so validated. All that seemed so unattainable, so non-existent- was poured out on us like a cornucopia of blessings, resulting in a blessed, good, stable marriage. A decisive marriage. A yes that unbreakably overcomes all storms. Why? Because it was Jesus' will, not ours in the first instance. We do not forget that, and we know that his yes is unbreakable.


I want to write about dialogue with Jesus. About relationship. About being seen.


I want to write about what so many long for, and what so few seem to experience - to truly perceive his voice and response, and to be guided by him. Relationship with Jesus is the most essential thing in Christianity, and yet often the most difficult.


Many people I talk to feel as Armin and I did when we first met: something is missing. Yes, that is how it should be with "belonging to Jesus", and obediently one accepts it. But the roses, the deep conversations, the tingling...all that is missing. Something...remains empty.

Busily, one tries to fill it. With Bible reading, worship, praise, Bible studies, service, regular counseling and prayer for protection and blessings. Alone...all this is like going out to eat -and the conversation stops in the middle.


Now what about all that in the Bible, Jesus? With the joy, with the freedom, with the direct guidance, the adventures your children are sent on, Father?

Now what about the book of Acts, what have we lost? Doing good deeds and feeling small ourselves, that can't be it, can it?


But believing in reality, really believing that it's happening-that God is speaking, saving, answering prayers-it feels like trying to lie down on the air and fly. Like getting on the lake and assuming you can walk on water.


But it is safer on the shore! Here, where the reed grows, even if the gaze longingly goes out to the lake.


Talking with Jesus means intimacy and friendship, deep recognition and closeness.


Many of us -do not know this at all. At home some never talked about feelings, self-expression was unimportant or even undesirable. At work, private conversations are not appreciated. After all, the church is supposed to be about Jesus, not about you. And even marriages are often ending as communities of purpose; after all, "you can't expect more than the first honeymoon year, every relationship falls asleep".

The other day, after a loving jab from me in my husband's direction ( something about "flowers would be nice again"), my mother-in-law said, "But you don't have to do that after 13 years." "Yes he does," I replied, "yes he does, by all means."


Closeness, love, familiarity, being recognized.

The great fear we have when it comes to hearing Jesus' voice is that we will be wrong, that we will be deceived.

The great fear we have is of our own real voice - buried under our knowing facade, our religious shield of faith.

And the question behind that is, "Can I trust you? Are you good? Do you love me?"


Hearing Jesus' voice and believing it-it moves you dangerously close to the edge of irrationality, doesn't it? So we better reduce it to tangible. Push away the thoughts that we think, "Now where did that come from?".

What we perceive could all just as easily be imagination, right? And how can you become confident in recognizing his voice?


Oh, truly I tell you: Only with time. Only by listening carefully. Only by really wanting to know him.


You know, the Gospels- they're quick reads, aren't they? And yes, we all know the moral meaning of Good Samaritan, and the seed that falls on rock, road, and in the field. So we read Paul, for hours and hours, Jesus- is brushed off.

But do we really know the parables? They are a good start to learning to hear Jesus' voice. "Read them with me and show me something I have never known". They are the only key to get to know him: "Why did you act this way? Why did you ask that question?" How does Jesus- how does he not act?"


Pay attention to your thoughts, insights, loving cues. Pay attention to how your image of him refines, changes, how he meets you. It's a good first step.


You know, hearing Jesus' voice- we can't learn that, we don't have to. We just have to become open to giving it space.


With Jesus and the personal relationship, it's like any other friendship:

Yes, you can be in worship together, work together, go out to eat together, you can memorize his "like, dislike" lists. You can try to please him.

But the thing that will establish your relationship is the conversation in the kitchen at dinner. It's the walk together without everyone else. It's the deep conversation with a bottle of red wine around the campfire.

None of this is ever one-sided. But Jesus' voice-it is always soft. He's quietly wooing your heart. And if you never lift your pillow in the morning to look under it- you'll never find the little love notes and bags of gummy bears.


Knowing Jesus, your own relationship, from which everything else grows - it needs what every friendship needs - togetherness. Openness. The desire to know him. The longing to be close to him. And the knowledge that you are invited to sit at his feet.


Where that is lost, love becomes a community of convenience.

Where that relationship, that longing is lost, we are lost.


Often this is reduced to "quiet time," pious, Bible-reading, and often under internal duress. This is not what I mean. No. How you build relationship, I don't know. Everyone has their favorite ways.


Perhaps the best thing I can give you today is a hint from a loving, wise counselor:


Sit down with Jesus and ask him, "Jesus, what do I like that you like about me? What are my dreams, my desires you yourself put into me?"


"Why am I precious to you? Where do you want me to be?"


And then just gather. He'll be happy to spend time with you while you do what you like.

But invite him to join you- you'll have to do that yourself.



Be blessed,

Sibylle.


Sources:

Photo: Pixabay

Song: Samuel Harfst: In your presence


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