After being mostly packed and ready to move for more than a year, my family and I recently decided to stay put and began the arduous process of unpacking.
As my wife and I were completing this task, we realised most of our boxes were filled with books. As we were unpacking them and putting them in one of our many bookshelves, our kids kept shouting at the top of their lungs: “Mummy, Daddy, look what I found!” Then they would proceed to show us their treasure: a newly found book they hadn’t seen in more than a year (I’m sure in kid years, it’s much longer). It was like Christmas in July!
After their exclamation, they promptly plopped down and read that book—and so continued the cycle for the entire afternoon.
It’s amazing how exciting it can be to find a book you haven’t seen in a while and rediscover it anew. I myself have a pile of “new” old books I’m planning to reread.
Long ago in Jerusalem, a king named Josiah came to power. “Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left” (2 Chronicles 34:1, 2).
Josiah began, little by little at first, to cleanse his land of the rampant idol worship and heathen practices that pervaded it. The Bible records that as he grew physically, his relationship with God and his love for Him grew as well. The kings who preceded Josiah had adopted many pagan practices, especially the worship of false gods. Because of this, in the eighteenth year of his reign, at the age of 26, he boldly decided to repair the temple of God in Jerusalem, which had fallen into disuse and was badly in need of repair (verse 8).
Then one day, in the midst of repairing the temple, King Josiah’s workers happened across the long-lost “Book of the Law of the Lord” (verse 14). Can you imagine how excited and amazed they must have been? I can just hear their voices echoing, “King! King! Look what we found!”
“Then the king called together all the . . . people from the least to the greatest. He read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant. . . . The king . . . renewed the covenant in the presence of the Lord—to follow the Lord and keep his commands, regulations and decrees with all his heart and all his soul, and to obey the words of the covenant written in this book. Then he had everyone . . . pledge themselves to it; the people . . . did this in accordance with the covenant of God. . . . As long as . . . [King
Josiah] lived, they did not fail to follow the Lord, the God of their ancestors” (verses 29–33).
After living their lives without God’s clear direction for years, it was understandable that they responded to His Word in this fashion. But a more important question is: how will you respond to what you believe God is telling you to do in your relationship with Him?
Facing God again
God longs to bring you into a deeper relationship with Him. Maybe there was a time when you fell in love with God, were introduced to His Word and began reading it. But for many of us, the cares and worries of life break us down and in the midst of the deterioration, we “lose” sight of Him. Then, as King Josiah did, little by little, we begin to turn back toward God and one day we come face-to-face with the laws and precepts of His Word.
When faced with His commands, will you respond as Josiah did, with confession and repentance and with a longing to go deeper with Him? Admittedly, it’s a scary thing to draw into a deeper, more intimate relationship with others. It’s likely that in the past—or present—you’ve been hurt by someone’s selfishness, carelessness or thoughtlessness, but God will never leave you or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6). In fact, He promises that if you search for Him with all your heart, you will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13).
Today, choose God and you will find a deeper, richer, more joyful and peace-filled life than you ever could have imagined.
How to connect with God
1. Pick a time. Finding a consistent time every day to connect with God is important, but you don’t have to do it first thing in the morning. Personally, I’m not a morning person, so the middle of the day or even the afternoon is great for me. Morning, afternoon or night—it doesn’t matter. God is always ready and waiting to connect with you.
2. Pick a spot. When I was a kid, I used to see my grand- mother disappear into her study for a long time. As little kids often are, I was curious and one day I waited for Grandma to leave, and then I sneaked into her study and snooped around. What I found was incredible: a rocking chair, a table and a Bible. Now, you don’t have to hide in your study to connect, but if that’s the only way you can, then fine. Go for it! My wife has a special chair in our living room with her Bible beside it. I like to spread out my reading materials on the dining room table. Whatever works for you, whether it’s inside or outside, just pick a spot and go for it.
3. Pick a resource. Here’s where it might get a little controversial. There are those who believe that the only thing you should ever read is the Bible. But I’m a firm believer that God can reach you by using whatever means you use to reach Him. Some people like to journal and connect with God that way. Others like to read devotional books or connect with God while reading stories about nature and natural and physical science. I even knew one person who loved to connect with God by looking at the stars and finding Bible passages about the heavens.
4. Be consistent. You’re starting a new habit and research shows that it takes a minimum of 28 days to get into the swing of things. So no matter what you do, be consistent. Don’t give up. Be patient with yourself and remember that this isn’t just a habit; it’s a discipline and any relationship worth having takes effort, focus and work. I promise you: you’ll be greatly rewarded. You may have to make multiple changes in your routine to find what works for you; the point is that God is anxious to connect with you.
5. Be constant. Connecting with God once a day is good, but why limit yourself to that? How many times throughout the day do you connect with those you love? Connecting with God is no different. The beauty of having your special time throughout the day is that you can attach yourself to Him and then you can converse with Him anytime you need to. I work from home and have two children. No matter where I am, if my kids call me, I can hear them. Connecting with God first thing in your day is like inviting Him into your home. Then no matter what’s happening throughout your day, He’s already there and all you have to do is connect.
6. Quality over quantity. When I first started my journey with God, I could barely digest the Bible. To me, it was filled with words, phrases and cultural connections that I couldn’t understand. I remember a time when I could barely do five minutes with God! But the One you’re connecting with is a real Being, not just a resource. He has thoughts and emotions like yours. When you connect with God, tell Him honestly how you really feel about your life with Him. I can promise you that He’s big enough to take the truth—and still want to hang out with you.
The bottom line is this: don’t put too much pressure on yourself to “white-knuckle” your way through a predetermined time period (but aim for at least one month). I promise that the more time you spend with Him, the more time you’ll want to spend with Him. Knowing God definitely means loving Him. He won’t get upset with you when you spend only a small amount of time with Him. He’ll be happy that you loved Him enough that you thought to connect with Him.