Thinking Out Loud

January 20, 2009

The Big Bang Theory and Intimacy With God

Filed under: Christianity, Faith, God, theology — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 9:37 am

Although I believe strongly in the God who said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you;” I struggle with experiencing what some term ‘intimacy with God.’  Having been on this journey for several decades now, I find that it’s easy to look back and see how God has been with me, leading, guiding; but not so easy to see him working in the present or thinking toward the future.

big-bang-theoryIn last night’s episode of The Big Bang Theory (CBS sitcom) the character Sheldon, a research scientist at a university, played flawlessly each week by Jim Parsons, hopes that by befriending another scientist, he can get access to time in a particular research laboratory.   Unfortunately,  Sheldon doesn’t know the first thing about what it takes to be someone’s friend, and has to have the process mapped out as a flowchart.   (Something that we have learned is necessary when trying to teach social situations to a child with Asperger’s Syndrome.)  Eventually, the awkward techniques seem to be working, and Sheldon is on his way to getting what he wants.

Later in the episode,  when he discovers that this scientist actually doesn’t control the lab schedule, he immediately dumps him.   Sheldon was only interested in the benefits to be had by the friendship, and not interested in the other person just for who he was.

The obvious parallel here is, what is our goal in desiring intimacy with God?  (Okay, what is my goal…?)   Though we don’t like to be truthful, often we are hoping for or expecting some kind of benefit to accrue.

Yesterday, I went through what some might consider a routine medical procedure.   After days of anxiety, as I lay in the ‘ready room’ outside the operating room, I reminded myself — or at least remembered being told — that God is right there next to me.   There have been times, certainly, when I have felt His presence in situations like this.    I prayed for that yesterday, to see or feel God’s presence and peace,  but didn’t really feel the assurance I was longing for.  Was I just looking for a benefit from knowing God intimately, and not truly seeking closeness to God for who He is?

We lead a worship chorus sometimes by Israel Houghton that says “I am a friend of God.”

Who am I
That You are mindful of me?
That You hear me
When I call?

Is it true
That You are thinking of me?
How You love me –
It’s amazing!

I am a friend of God
I am a friend of God
I am a friend of God
He calls me friend

Sometimes we medley that song directly into:

There is a place of quiet rest
Near to the heart of God
A place where sin cannot molest
Near to the heart of God

O Jesus, blest Redeemer
Sent from  the heart of God
Hold us who wait before You
Near to the heart of God

I am a friend of God.  What a wonderful friendship to have!    Yet I am sure that on my part, my attempts at friendship must look to God like Sheldon’s looked to his friends on last night’s show.  I feel like, spiritually anyway, yesterday was a failure, because I carried all that worry, I simply didn’t trust, I didn’t think or act or emote like God was a friend right next to me.

Basically, I am trying really hard to experience a friendship that scripture tells me already exists for those who have decided to follow Him.

1 Comment »

  1. As I read your blog, Paul (and so sorry to hear you needed surgery)I was reminded of John Piper’s book, “God’s Passion for His Glory” where he says, “God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him.”

    I think what you are expressing is exactly what God designed — that as we draw close to Him out of our need for Him, He is most satisfied. In other words, in this ‘friendship’ with God, we both gain from it. It was never meant to be one-sided. Yes, we go to Him in our need — but that’s exactly what He wants — that’s what brings Him joy! He is satisfied when He can meet our needs!

    I am finding also that in my ‘much more’ mature years I do seek Him out, more than before, just because I love Him and want to spend time with Him — not because I want anything more from Him than His Love.

    Isn’t it true of most friendships, though, that they are a little lop-sided? Even in marriage, perhaps,one partner gives a little more than the other.

    And when it comes to ‘sensing His presence,’ Brother Lawrence said it comes with practice! (“The Practice of the Presence of God”).

    Comment by kaybee — January 21, 2009 @ 2:41 pm


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