My heart began to beat faster as I zigzagged my way through the crowded hall. I must have looked like a NASCAR in the middle of Sunday drivers. As I approached my target location, I ran my fingers through my hair, made sure that my Levi’s were properly cuffed, and popped a mint in my mouth. I leaned up against the wall, tried to slow my heart rate, and waited.
It was 1987 and I was a sophomore in high school. Between my 4th and 5th period classes, this was my daily routine. I knew that if I timed it just right, I would see her. And today I was right on time. Through the crowd, I spotted her. She was beautiful! She had long brown hair that fell beyond her shoulders, bangs that stood straight up with a curl at the top (remember – this was the 80’s), and eyes that you could stare into for days on end.
As she walked up, I shifted my weight from the wall, stood up, and put on my best smile. She said, “I have something for you.” She handed me a note. The note was carefully folded. The fold was almost as important as the words themselves. This expertly folded piece of notebook paper was what I had been waiting for! Did she like me too?!
At this point in our relationship, I knew some things about this girl, but I really did not know her that well. All I knew was that she was a special person and that I wanted to get to know her better. In other words, I was head over heals for this girl. Was it love? I will answer that in a moment.
As we continue to dive into the current message series – Jesus: Seven Portraits, my prayer is that I would learn more and more about the One that has my heart. It’s tempting to assume that we already know everything that we need to know about Jesus. And if you are like me, I have had to move from knowing about Him to knowing Him. Think about that for a moment.
Let’s go back to the hallway and the girl that had my attention. I could have asked others more questions about her. I could have watched her from afar. I could have stood back and studied her every move (as I type this, it occurs to me that this approach sounds a little creepy). But the truth is that if I never had an encounter with her, I would have never known her.
Thinking of my relationship with Jesus when I was young, I knew a lot about Him. I knew that He was God and the Savior of the world. I invited Him to come and take over my life and was baptized to profess my faith in Him. But for a long time, that was it – I knew about Him, but did not know Him.
It was about the same time that I stood in the hallway of my high school that I also started to realize that there was much more to this relationship with Jesus than I had previously experienced.
I started to look for encounters with Christ. Instead of sitting on the sidelines and watching from a distance, I decided to get out on the field. Just listening to others talk about Him was not enough anymore – I needed something more.
I started with prayer. I realized that my prayers did not have to fit into some sort of formula or mold, but rather prayer was simply talking to Him. As time went on, I realized that prayer was not just a one-way conversation. God used the Word, people in my life, messages, and the Holy Spirit to speak back to me. The more time I spent with Him, the better I got to know Him – really know Him!
After having conversations with Him, I decided to look more into what was written down long ago – the Word of God. This “note” so to speak, was more than a note. It was and is amazing. Stories, poems, instructions for life and most importantly, the Word spoke clearly to me as to how God feels about me. The more I looked into His Word, the more I came to know Him.
And the more I came to know Him, the more I realized that He looks beyond all my imperfections – He knows my heart. There is a sense of freedom knowing that with all of the sin, all of the baggage, and all of the scars, He loves me.
But let’s face it – in every relationship, there is a drift. Relationships take work – they take time. There has to be a daily decision to walk with the One that you love.
My question for you is simple: Do you know Him better today than you did yesterday? Just like any healthy relationship, we have to seek deeper relationship on a consistent basis for growth to happen. Growing your relationship with Him never stops!
So the girl in the hallway of my high school – was it love? Well, it certainly became true love. We began our relationship 30 years ago this spring, got married in 1994, and now have three kids. Each day spent with my bride, Michelle, is a blessing to me. I know her so much better today than I did 30 years ago. I love her so much more today than I did 30 years ago. My love for her only grows as I continue to get to know her more and more!