“…But go to My brothers and tell them that I am ascending to My Father and your Father—to My God and your God.” John 20:17b (NLT)
“I came to think of God as more of a gracious friend who was accompanying me on this journey, a friend who wanted to carry my burdens and speak into my life and shape me into who I really was and who I would become.” Joanna Gaines, The Magnolia Story
- Come, Sweet Mama, and rest with the Lord this morning. Grab your favorite beverage, Bible, and journal.
- Please read John 20 and write out any verses that stand out to you. Make sure to write the second half of verse 17 in your journal. Underline or
circle the word ‘your.’
He Calls You by Name
Relationships are inescapable. God had the first relationship—with Himself! Genesis 1:26 hints at the Trinity when God says, “Let us make man in Our image…” And, being made in the image of God, we are made for relationship. Casually or intimately, we need each other. Our relational God wants to know us and be known by us, speaking of Himself as our Father, Daddy, and Friend. To get as close to us as possible, He became human and lived among us. Jesus was all about people. His ministry began by establishing an inner circle of companions, then expanded to serve anyone He encountered. John 20:11-18 records a beautiful moment with His friend, Mary:
Mary had gone to the tomb of Jesus when she discovered His body was missing. The man she presumed to be the gardener asked her why she was crying. When she told Him, He said, “Mary.” I absolutely love how Jesus calls Mary by her name. He doesn’t go through a roll call like I do with my children. He knows Mary’s heart and understands why she is crying; yet, He takes the time to hear her. As Jesus utters her name, she knows instantly who He is. Out of love and relief, she wants to cling to Him, but He explains that His mission isn’t complete. Jesus will be “ascending to My Father and your Father—to My God and your God” (John 20:17). Jesus reiterates the purpose of His death on the cross and subsequent resurrection was to restore fellowship between God and His children; not only fellowship, but an intimate relationship as our Father and our God. God has relentlessly, sacrificially pursued us, and now, we must pursue Him. Jesus was an example of seeking His Father. Often, we read in the Gospels that Jesus would go to a solitary place and pray (Mark 1:35). We must find time daily to deepen our relationship with God by praying.
Sweet friend, God’s heart for us isn’t just to save us from our judgment, but to abide with us in a loving relationship. God yearns to be with us. He loves us more than we can imagine (Ephesians 3:17-18). He desires for us to draw near to Him (James 4:8). He wants to walk through the fire and the water with us (Isaiah 43:2). He wants to rejoice with us (Zephaniah 3:17). Basically, He wants to be with us through the good, the bad, and the ugly.
There are many benefits of having a genuine relationship with Jesus. First, we see Jesus is right there beside Mary as she is distraught over His body missing. Second, Jesus calls us by our name. He knows us. In fact, Isaiah 49:16 says that we are “inscribed” on the palms of God’s hands. Third, Jesus’ presence brings peace in the middle of uncertainty. Several times Jesus says, “Peace be with you” in John 20.
To be honest, right now in my life, I am grappling with a sick child. My oldest child has recently been diagnosed with an autonomic nervous system dysfunction. Almost daily, I go before the Lord looking for strength and courage to fight this crazy battle. Daily, God infuses me with His strength and fights my battles (Exodus 14:14). When Kaleb’s illness began, I was overwhelmed! I had no idea what to do next. In my prayer time, God gently reminded me that He has directed my path with each new doctor, new diagnosis, and new medicine. It is only because of my relationship with God that I have been able to wade through all of the medical chaos. Kaleb isn’t healed—yet. But I do have the peace and courage to get through each day, and make the most of every encounter with people (Ephesians 5:15-16).
Blessings and Love,
Questions to Ponder
- What can you do to make your relationship with God more intimate?
- When my oldest son was two he would call me “Honey” because his dad did. What are some nicknames you call God? Why? For example, I call God my Abba because I never had a Dad.
Seek to find out the names of those who serve you at the grocery store, restaurant, or bank. Memorize their names and use it when you see them. Look them in the eye and make sure they know they matter. If talking to God is difficult, pray the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 several times this week.