God has done so much. God went through extreme measures to be with us. After an excellent, honest conversation with an unbelieving friend, I was drawn to reflect upon just how much effort God invests in relationship. Not that it’s difficult or tiring for the Lord, but from my perspective it seems like a lot of work.
After a long and varied conversation, my friend offered her timeworn conclusion. She lacks motivation and desire to pursue God with her whole heart. She wants to encounter Christ; she simply doesn’t want the effort of seeking Him. This confession transformed into a prayer. But as I picture us holding hands while I prayed, I realize she wanted the same thing from me she is expecting of God. Someone else to make to take action, another person to do the work, and for her to reap where others have sown.
This is what I think about every time I look at Michelangelo’s painting The Creation of Adam. People sometimes refer to it as the Sistine Chapel painting (it’s only a very small part) or as the painting where God touches man (they aren’t touching). I don’t know what Michelangelo was thinking theologically when he allowed the gap between God’s hand and that of Adam. But I have learned a great deal about spiritual growth from this representation of creation.
Looking carefully at the image, I realized that God is reaching eagerly towards Adam, stretching and fully extending a finger. In contrast, we see a lounging Adam, lying back and resting his arm on a knee. In order to touch the Lord, he need but gently lift a finger. God comes to us, though we lay about unenthusiastically. God reaches 99% of the way, and invites us to close a comparatively minute 1% of the gap.
Considering what God has accomplished (created, sent Christ to live/die/resurrect, redeemed, reconciled, indwelled as Spirit, etc.), anything done on our part is like lifting a finger. We choose to recieve all that God has prepared. From the beginning, the Lord has been clear. “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
Let’s pray for my friend, but also for ourselves, to learn how to seek the Lord with all our heart. Let’s give far more than a simple raised finger. Let’s run to the Lord. Let’s imitate God’s pursuit of us and seek wholeheartedly.