Have you ever looked at other people’s deep relationship with God with longing, maybe even jealousy? Have you ever felt like some people get special treatment from God?

Or maybe you’ve wondered, “What if I’m not wired for the kind of deep intimacy with God you talk about? Maybe my personality, perspectives, or relational ability mean I shouldn’t expect that kind of closeness to God, and maybe that’s okay.”

First of all, let me say that yes, we’re all wired differently. God designed us with different strengths and weaknesses. We’ve been uniquely shaped by different parents, pains, and problems. This means my relationship with God is going to look different than yours; after all, God meets us where we are, as we are.

Okay. Are we clear on that? Deep breath. Now let it out.

Because… God may meet us where we are, as we are… but he doesn’t let us stay there. My family of origin may have shaped me, but it needn’t define me. My pain has created wounds and scars I protect with walls and excuses, but Jesus can heal my pain. I can learn to love. I can learn to trust, to be transparent, to admit weakness and reap the benefits of that. My problems are unique to me, but they’re nothing new, either. I can grow, move, shift, change. As I should. As I will, if I follow Jesus nearly and dearly.

But you know who doesn’t change? God.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). The same God who met with Moses meets with me. The same God who empowered Elijah empowers me. The same Jesus who welcomed sinners, hugged children, and took walks along the beach with his disciples invites me into the same kind of relationship.

Because ultimately, it’s not about how I’m wired. It’s about how He’s wired. 

Shauna and I have three incredible grown up children. Two of the three are married. All three are coupled up, and their ‘others’ are wonderful. Each of the six are uniquely wired, and I treat them that way—but I simultaneously want the very same thing for each of them: I want them to experience my love. I want them to hear and welcome my voice in their lives. I want to help and hug them.

That’s not about them, it’s about me, being Brad. And the same is true with God

The parable of the prodigal in Luke 15 illustrates this beautifully. You may know the story: A selfish young buck demands his father hand over his inheritance so he can go on a bender and blow it on his pleasure. Let’s call him Dwight. The Father is heartbroken, but gives in. Dwight goes off and tanks his life like a boss. He eventually comes to his senses, then comes slinking back to his Father with his tail between his legs. Then we read these words:\

“While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him” (Luke 15:20). 

Do you think the Father cared whether Dwight was a hugger? Or whether needed his space for a hot minute? Nope. What the Father gives is shaped by who the Father is, not who we are. 

Next question: What if we swapped out Dwight with Nancy, Luke, or Desmond? No? What about Jennifer, Gunther, Ping, or Jose? What if we played it out a hundred times? A thousand? A million? Would what the Father offers change one iota? I don’t think so.

The Father wants to be close to his children. He wants them to hear his voice, enjoy his presence, and experience is work and touch in their lives. He doesn’t play favourites, or give some kids more than others. The older brother in the story believed he did:

“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” (Luke 15:28-32).

This shows us something important: It’s not the Father who limits what we enjoy and experience. It’s us. Whether it’s a lack of faith or the presence of doubt—whether we define ourselves by our wiring, or personality, or experience—our lack of intimacy is about us, not him.

This is why I pray a prayer like this every single day, for myself. The more I become like Jesus, the more I will experience what Jesus, the Son, experienced: 

“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe” (Ephesians 1:17-19).

Your Father loves you.

He likes you.

He wants you.

Pray like it.

Live like it.

Smile like it.