When I was attending a small Christian group in my church, one of my friends brought up a topic about her first love to God. She addressed it as ‘God first love’. That time, I left the place wondering if I ever had my first love to God. I couldn’t remember when or how it happened.
As a Christian, it is also a question almost everyone bound to ask: how do you know God, and almost every time, I would smile and say:
I don’t know.
I was born as a Christian. I go to church since as long as I could remember. I went to Sunday school, attended church choir up to high school, and served in the worship ministry as singer, musician and worship leader. Church has been part of my life ever since I could ever remember.
‘No talking thunder?’
‘No talking bushes?’
‘No bright lights in the middle of something, along with some kind of majestic sound, like bells or beautiful choirs?’
I never experienced those moments where my life is completely changed in a magical, amusing way just like those sharing in the churches or books.
I put a lot of thoughts in it: about how to describe my relationship to God.
I came up with one closest example I could ever think of. My relationship to God is like two people in arranged marriage. They grew up together, they’ve known each other since they could remember, and they knew they are meant to be married. There are no sparks of first glance anymore. They could never remember when they really do fall in love with each other. They just do. They grew up in love unintentionally. They are comfortable with each other and without realizing it they are in love. And as they could not remember when was the first time they fell in love, they also could never imagine their lives being apart from each other. They could never explain the kind of first love that movies offer or their neighbors talk about; they feel a very different kind of love.
My relationship with God is just like that. It does not have any ‘sparks’ of first love, no turning point, no first prayer, nothing. I have learned how to pray and read bibles since I could remember. I knew the stories and parables in the bible by heart. I grew up with God.
I believe that there are many Christians like me. We could never boast about our first love with God.
However, I realized something: just because I cannot boast about my first love with God, it doesn’t make my relationship with him any less valuable than others. I came to realize that I actually really walk with him daily. Older married couples would understand this: my relationship with God is in the stage where being comfortable is one sign of love. I don’t receive too many emotions: I don’t cry as much when I pray or reading bible, but still, I could feel his presence, daily. I am more content with my life because I know he is in control of everything. I am not easily upset nor angered because I know who holds my future and my hands. I talk to him continuously throughout the day and I know he is listening.
I still cannot boast completely about my relationship with God. My description above is far too beautiful; I still long to learn to walk with him so that one day my relationship with God could fit the description above completely – to have an intimate, loving relationship like lovers.
I guess it does not matter how we meet God. What matters most is the next step: do we grow up with him? Do we grow to know him more? Do we grow with God? Are we satisfied with our first moment and stop growing instead? Are we waiting passively for the love to fire up again?
How is your relationship with God?