I’m often amazed at the relationship Christ is willing to have with me. I think we all have moments when we feel unworthy and wonder why Christ would care or does care. But that’s the thing – He does care. He always cares. Even when we walk away from Him, His hand is always there, reaching out to pull us back as soon as we take His hand again.
As I’ve thought about my relationship with Him over the last couple of months, I’ve noticed a few things that particularly impressed me about the relationship I have with Christ. And most importantly, I’ve learned more about the character of Christ as I’ve considered this relationship. I’m guessing a lot of you have found similar things in your relationships with Christ as well, so I want to highlight a few things I’ve noticed, and hopefully these things will spur some thoughts about your own relationship with Christ.
Christ is Patient With Me
I’m learning how patient Christ is with me. Even though He’s directed me and chastised me recently, He’s still patient with my weaknesses that are challenging me right now. He expects that I will work to overcome those weaknesses and that I will work to accomplish what He wants me to accomplish. And though there are moments when He needs to chastise me back into action, He is ultimately still patient when my efforts are weak because at least they’re efforts. I think He’s most likely to call me out and chastise me when I stop putting in the efforts I know I need to put in.
The Lord is so patient. I don’t know how many times I’ve gone to Him with the same things – the same problems, the same complaints, the same weaknesses. Yet He still hears me out. He listens and He guides. He gives me understanding and assurance – sometimes in tiny amounts, but it’s always enough to help – and those things are enough to help me carry on. I don’t know how He has such infinite patience and love to deal with people like me who never seem to tire of complaining, but I do know that I am grateful for His patience. And I’m especially grateful that He still sees me as someone called and chosen to help in His work.
I’m also grateful for the Spirit at times like this because I receive so much guidance. I’m not someone who can complain that I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard the Lord or the Spirit – I know I have. The Spirit has made Himself undeniably clear in my life, and though I don’t always know what I’m being directed to do and I’m still learning to recognize and act on those promptings, there are plenty of times when the Spirit has been utterly obvious. And I’m blessed too to be able to recognize the Spirit a bit better now than I used to. It’s a lifelong learning process, but I’m grateful that my Savior made it possible for me to receive such tutelage as the Spirit offers me.
Christ is Willing to Work With Me
One of my favorite things that Nephi writes is his “O wretched man that I am” passage. I often feel the same way when I read it.
Why do I let sin overcome me so easily?
Why am I so weak?
Why do I seek distraction instead of the Spirit?
Why do I have so many good intentions that come to naught?
And yet, Nephi’s faith is so relatable as well. Even in the midst of sorrowful questions and self-assessment, he finds hope because of his faith in what matters most.
Like Nephi, I’ve trusted in Him. I turned to Him and prayed and sought forgiveness. His goodness and love and support and grace have never failed me.
I want to learn to see Their grace in my life each day. To better understand everything They’re giving me and how much I need to rely on Them. I need to trust Them more and seek Them more. I need that increased understanding this year as I feel it will significantly help prepare me for the return of my King and my Savior.
Christ Hears Me
Sometimes it’s enough to know that He heard me. Even when the answers I’m looking for aren’t clearly given, He never leaves me wondering if I was heard. My Lord always reaches out, assures me, helps me rest and find peace, and reminds me that He has a plan and will fulfill it in His timing.
I definitely get frustrated at times when answers don’t seem clear, and I’m wondering constantly what to do and what feels right. But I do know that He answers eventually. Other questions and concerns, as real and exhausting as they may be, can wait until He guides me forward. It may just be that certain things still need to line up before the plan can be executed. Or maybe I need to open myself to a new possibility before He will guide me to the next right thing.
What matters is that He will lead and guide. He will not abandon me. He hears me, and I can hear Him.
Christ Has a Plan
Funny how just when I think things aren’t working out and I’m stressed over it all, all of the sudden it just – works out. I love seeing these moments. Well, I suppose everyone does. We all like when things work out nicely. But the thing that makes this so great is that it’s proof of Christ entering into my life. It’s proof that He cares, even about little temporal things like painting a house.
It’s also proof of His power. Things can be stuck and uncertain for days, weeks, months, years – and then He says, “Okay, it’s time to resolve this,” and that same moment, it’s resolved.
For me, when this happens, I take it as encouragement. It’s often the assurance I need to believe that what I’m doing is right and good in God’s eyes. When something isn’t right, the complications never seem to end and they never seem to sort themselves out. They just build on each other.
That’s not to say that I don’t have challenges to deal with when something is right. There are always challenges. But when it seems like too much, or when unexpected problems arise, that’s when I often find God’s merciful hand taking things in stride. He always prepares a way forward. The way forward may not be the way I expected, and it likely still holds struggles. But it is still a prepared way forward when before I couldn’t even see a way forward.
I suppose that the phrase “entering in” suggests that Christ isn’t there the whole time. But that actually isn’t the case. He’s present, He’s aware, and He supports us as we endure and seek Him through our struggles. When the resolution moment comes, however, it feels like He reenters. Like He brings new power, new attention. Maybe it’s more of a statement of my lack of attention to Him than a change in His efforts that makes these moments feel this way. Either way, I’m always impressed, comforted, and relieved for these moments, no matter how small the resolution. And I’m so grateful that my God is a God who cares.
Christ Does Not Abandon Me
God does not abandon us. He’s invested so much into us – particularly in the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, for our salvation – that it doesn’t make sense that He would suddenly abandon us. Why would He put so much into something only to throw it away? It’s like spending weeks putting together a quilt and then throwing it in the trash without binding it.
No. The God I know and worship does not do that. He is not an angry God looking to destroy us at the first opportunity. He’s a Father who sacrifices for His children.
And my Savior is just as involved and loving as my Father. The choice to give His life for us was not made lightly. When you’re willing to sacrifice your life for someone, you aren’t going to turn around and abandon them after. And Christ made that sacrifice for each of us individually, so He stays with each of us to make the most of the gift and sacrifice He gave us.
With an infinite atonement, the work never seems to be done. There are always people to help, support, and save. But Christ chose that because He loves us and the work is worth it to Him.