The Struggle Is Real

Kyle Davies   -  

Starting up conversations isn’t natural for everyone. Some have that “gift of gab.” Others struggle to give their food order at a restaurant. Once the conversation gets going, it’s commonplace for a discussion about the weather to emerge. Good or bad. It’s a shared experience. We also find it easier to talk about what’s “right” and “wrong” in the world. I’ve increasingly noticed how little and how common it is for Christians, who are talking with other Christians, to discuss their time with the Lord.

Asking and answering questions:

  • What does your time with God look like?
  • What do you actually do?
  • What is God saying to you?
  • Is there a common theme?

The mingling of their soul and the Savior is one of the greatest necessities of a sustained Christian life. If it’s so essential to be at home in our core with Father, Son, and Spirit, why do we struggle to talk about it with others? The cynic might respond with something about how Christians aren’t actually spending any purposeful time with God so that’s why it’s not talked about. The pessimist might respond with how there isn’t any time. The optimist may respond with how every believer does in their own way or of course desires to spend that time but needs a little more help getting that conversation going. There are probably others who might have some reflections on why Christians struggle in this area or may have not even realized that it’s helpful for believers to have these discussions with each other.

I oscillate between several of these perspectives. Christians want to discuss their connection to God with other believers, but either doesn’t know how or have been conditioned that their time with God has to look a certain way, thus chasing a false standard and always feeling guilty that they can never answer a question about their time in the affirmative. Maybe that’s a stretch. I don’t know.

However, I do realize our pace affects our awareness. The ability to slow down and become more aware of self and God’s presence seems to disappear from our weekly, let alone daily rhythms. We could blame the advent of technology. The bombardment of notifications keeps us constantly connected and checking our phones. The predictive and automatic nature of Netflix helps us zone out. The gamification of work and play curates those quick hits of dopamine. Both the “off” button for the TV and Do Not Disturb on the phone exist. The thought that we could use these tools at times seem ineffective and paralyzing. Further, questions about the practicality of such rhythms which emerge from daily living start to emerge. How does a person who works 80 hours or a family with young kids create space to even commune with God?

We must talk about it. Wait…

Yes, you caught on. At the beginning, I mentioned that we struggle to talk about communing with God. Someone must first verbalize the desire and ask for help. Would you watch my kids for 30 minutes so that I can take a walk and pray? I’m struggling to break the seal in Bible reading, would you help me get more comfortable with Scripture by texting me once a week?

May we step out of the denial that we need a change of pace and ask for help. “Communion” is a good word. What do you think when you hear it? Maybe an ordinance of the church? Perhaps an archaic way of saying relationship? Or even some mystical ambiguity connected to transcendence?

“To speak a little of it in general,” John Owen writes, “Communion relates to things and persons. Joint participation in anything whatever, good or evil, duty or enjoyment, nature or actions. . . . (Works.II.7). In other words, communion most basically is what’s happening when we cheer on our favorite team with a group of friends.

But that’s not the way we really use the word. We call those parties. And notwithstanding the joy aspect of parties, communion is about God — the one, true, personal God in three persons, Father, Son, and Spirit. We should and must be cheering for each other with each other to experience the loving community which transforms our life. Becoming like Jesus involves speaking about a time to withdraw and including others in your plan to do so, setting a pace, and creating space.

Communion is God’s communication to us coupled with our response to him — all in such a way that he’s glorified and we’re glad. May we become more comfortable cheering on the team that is working in our individual life.