Keeping God in the Midst of Our Relationships
by Jocelyn Green
Though The Metropolitan Affair is wrapped around art forgeries in Prohibition-era Manhattan, the relationships drive the story. For Dr. Lauren Westlake, our Egyptologist protagonist, the challenge in both is to discern genuine from counterfeit. As Lauren finds in her own journey, the best way to tell the difference is to study the real thing.
For us as believers, finding truth from among all the voices and choices that bombard us daily requires us to remain connected to God, keeping Him foremost of and in all the relationships we have. He is the God of reconciliation. Lauren desperately wants to be reconciled with her earthly father in my story, but the more important theme we can all apply is that of reconciliation to God, which can happen through Jesus.
These days, Jesus doesn’t show up in bodily form, holding out His hand to us. But His invitation is just as real, just as constant, and far more life-giving than any other. He wants us to abide with Him. We aren’t a nuisance or bother. Instead, He delights in relationship with us.
Let’s take a look at just some of what God offers us when we abide in Him:
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22–23)
everything we need for a godly life (2 Peter 1:3)
wisdom (James 1:5)
strength (Psalm 29:11)
living hope (1 Peter 1:3)
grace (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Now think about your day. What difference would it make if you could have just a couple things from the list above? And yet, all of this and more is ours for the asking. It’s overwhelming to me what we can have, if we do as Jesus says in John 15:9: “Now remain in my love.”
What does it take to remain connected with God? Attending church services and gathering with other believers is vital. But in between those times, we can still nurture our personal relationship with God. Reading the Bible on your own and praying are great ways to know God better, and more easily discern His voice.
If you’re in a season where sitting down to read for a dedicated period of time is unrealistic, get creative:
Listen to the Bible while driving or cooking or folding laundry. Try a Bible reading/listening plan through YouVersion.com.
Sign up for a daily email that sends Scripture to your inbox.
Write Scripture verses on notecards or Post-its and put them up where you’ll see them often.
Choose a verse or passage to dwell on for the week. Keep a copy on your nightstand so you can read it before you get out of bed in the morning and before you turn out the light at night.
If you have children in a church program like awana, learn their assigned verses right along with them.
Praying, too, is an integral part of staying connected to the Vine. I love that Psalm 62:8 says, “Pour out your hearts to him.” That calls for much more than just mealtime blessings and bedtime prayers—it’s a call for honest, open conversation anytime. We can pray on our knees, with our hands folded and heads bowed, or we can pray while driving, walking or washing dishes. We can pray alone or corporately. When we’re grateful or when we’re spitting mad. The point is to simply keep talking to God.
In The Metropolitan Affair, Lauren spends so much energy trying to redeem an estranged relationship with her father. God wants us to live in peace with one another, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you” (Romans 12:18). But the most important connection we can possibly have is to our heavenly Father. Abide in Him today.
Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage as the bestselling author of twenty fiction and nonfiction books. Her books have garnered starred reviews from Booklist and Publishers Weekly, and have been honored with the Christy Award. Visit her at www.jocelyngreen.com.