You know when you're talking to someone about something and you can tell that they really are just not interested in what you have to say? Like Kelly from The Office? I'll tell you now that this post might involve a lot of The Office references, because I've watched a record number of episodes this weekend thanks to Netflix on my phone. For those of you who haven't ever watched The Office, 1. Get Netflix on your phone or anywhere you can get it right now. 2. Kelly sometimes goes on these long, really girly monologues and whoever she's talking to usually really doesn't care. So now you're all caught up until I reference something else. I'll try to keep it to a minimum.
. (That's Kelly up there ^^^^^^^^)
When it comes to certain topics, I can sometimes feel like I'm Kelly and God is Ryan. And Jim. And Michael. And everyone else who doesn't really care that much about what Kelly has to say. I know that God cares about me, but there are some aspects of my life that I just don't think are a big deal to him. I think we all have them, whether it's how our sports team does or what we eat or what kinds of grades we get. Somehow, the things that constitute a big part of our lives seem much too small to even register on the radar of our all-powerful God.
For the longest time, I was convinced that my relationships were one of those things. I don't know when the idea entered my mind, but I assumed that friend drama, family disagreements, and boy trouble didn't matter that much to God. I thought that since He knows so much, my little human conflicts wouldn't matter to him similarly to the way that a child's struggles can seem minute to an adult. Through some circumstances in my life, I got to know God better. I got to know that not only does God care about my relationships, but they are of utmost importance to him.
You see, God works in relationships. That's how He gets into the hearts of His people and it's how He shows up in amazing ways. I mean, He created us to relationship (that's a verb now) with Himself and the people around us, after all. One of his first projects after man was made was to establish the companionship between husband an wife. His entire plan for salvation was based on reconstructing a relationship that the people He loved had dashed to pieces. So, um, I think that He most certainly cares, very deeply, about the way I connect with other people.
That knowledge is so comforting in a world that brings heartache in waves and where relationships stand gingerly on a basis of fragile human merit. To know that God is the creator of relationships and kind of an expert at fixing them, along with the now undeniable fact that He always desires for bonds to be forged instead of broken, has allowed me to walk on rocky seas of angry words and miscommunications and hurt hearts over and over again. When I'm running out of my own reserves of hope for a situation, all I have to do is go to God's heart for that hope to be renewed again, because I know that, above all, God is a God of wholeness and love and community, and that He is always working to that end.
I was reminded of that truth again yesterday morning over coffee at our weekly Sunday morning family Bible study. We were working through 2 Samuel 14 on a whim of my little sister. I don't know if you know it? It's one of many parts of the Bible that deals with the ungodly actions of King David's kids; it starts out with a rape and a murder and ends with a beautiful reunion. David's son, Absalom, has just killed his brother (after that brother had raped his own sister, mind you) and run away from his father and his kingdom. One of David's higher-ups, Joab, in an effort to reunite father and son, sends a woman to talk some sense into David, who isn't acting to bring his son back. (There's a lot more to it than that, but we won't go into it right now.) The woman speaks to David of God's heart, saying,
It takes a lot of encouragement from Joab and more than two years of waiting, but eventually what the woman says proves true: God orchestrates a plan that brings David and his son back together into the closeness that God intended originally, because that is what's at God's heart. That is what He cares about.
As usual, God's timing is perfect and this reminder came just as I am struggling through a hurting friendship of my own. In the face of what seems like overwhelming damage, it's really, really hard not to simply give up in favor of an easier path. With God, though, hope enters the picture. I know that He is big enough to overcome any obstacle; He knows the words that need to be said and He, the potter, can soften hearts of clay. I know that with Him, things are possible that never would be otherwise. That's probably the most important, amazing, counter intuitive thing about God and relationships: only when they're broken beyond repair can God truly show his full capacity to restore and bring us to experience Him to the fullest.