Douglas Gregg, Reflection on Growth in Our Personal Relationship with God

Dr. Douglas Gregg, Christian Formation and Direction Ministries
November 2005

Reflection on Growth in Our Personal Relationship with God

  1. Getting in Touch with Your Desire for God

In God’s presence, let yourself be in touch with your desire for God.

  • What is that desire like? How strong is your desire for God?
  • “As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God.” (Psalm 42:1) What image would represent your desire for God? What emotions are present?
  • Has your desire for God changed through the years? How has it changed?

Express your desire to God. Ask God to increase your desire if it needs to be strengthened.

  1. Becoming Aware of God’s Desire for You

Who is God for you now? How is God present with you at this moment? Spend time looking at God, examining your thoughts and emotions, becoming aware of God’s desire for you:

  • What is God’s desire for you like? Listen to God express this desire and/or ask God to give you a picture of his desire for you.
  • Jesus said, “How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings…” (Mt. 23:37b). Does God want to gather you under God’s wings?
  • Let yourself feel God’s desire for you. How do you feel as you get in touch with this desire? Joyful? Grateful? Fearful?

Share this feeling with God. Ask for a greater awareness of and openness to God’s desire for you.

Julian of Norwich, in Showings, chapter XV, writes,

“Our Lord revealed to me a supreme spiritual delight in my soul. In this delight I was filled full of everlasting surety, and I was powerfully secured without any fear. I was at peace, at ease and at rest, so that there was nothing upon earth which could have afflicted me.

“This lasted only for a time, and then I was changed, and left to myself, oppressed and wary of myself, rueing my life. I felt that there was not ease or comfort in me except hope, faith, and love, and truly I felt very little of this. 

“And then God gave me again comfort and rest for my soul, delight and security so blessed and so powerful that there was no fear, no sorrow, no pain, physical or spiritual which might have disturbed me. And then again I felt the pain, and then afterwards the joy and the delight, now the one and now the other, again and again… And in the time of joy I could have said with Paul, ‘Nothing shall separate me from the love of Christ,’ and in the pain, I could have said with Peter, ‘Lord, save me; I am perishing.’

“This taught me that God wishes us to know that he keeps us safe all the time, in joy and in sorrow, and that he loves us as much in sorrow as in joy. In this time I committed no sin for which I ought to have been left to myself, nor did I deserve these sensations of joy; but God gives joy freely as it pleases him, and sometimes he allows us to be in sorrow, and both come from his love.”