Last night during my run I was talking to God about how important it is for me to have a knowledge of His will for me and the power to carry that out, as I prayed according to the Eleventh Step. It occurred to me, while I was praying for someone else of course, that pivotal to a spiritual awakening is also this need: knowledge of God’s love for us and the grace to accept it. Before I cared one little bit about God’s will for me, I had to appreciate His love for me. Without relationship why would I seek to do anyone’s will? Would I obey the commands of a complete stranger? Of course not!

My trouble is that I have spent a lifetime serving the master of self-interest. I needed Someone who could call me out of that dizzying trance and into something better. I heard it said recently:

I am not accepted because I obey; I obey because I am accepted.

Relationship comes first.

One of my most basic fears is that of being left behind, abandoned, betrayed. Psychologists tell us that is a human being’s first learned fear. (The only natural ones are of falling and of loud noises.) “What if that nice soft lady with the warm milk doesn’t come back?” My first wife compounded that fear and magnified it with a good helping of shame, since it takes two to tango and I apparently have two left feet when it comes to relationships. That is why today’s meditation from Our Daily Bread ( meant so much to me. It centered around Joshua 1:9 which reads:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (NIV)

Dear Father, today, help me cling to Your promise that You will never abandon me. Even in my worst case scenario, You will be there with me, guiding me, loving me, and comforting me. So what do I have to fear? Thank You for Your companionship, Your provision, and Your purpose. Help me do only Your will, never mine. In Christ’s name, Amen!