A Date with God

The assignment was given. Spend one hour with God. It was Good Friday and our Bible Study group was wrapping up a lesson on developing a love relationship with God. We talked about how difficult it is to find time for God in our hectic world, in our hectic lives, in our hectic minds. Now we were challenged to make a date with God. We were to give God one hour of our undivided attention in the next week.

Saturday morning was glorious here in Pennsylvania. I went running up on the mountain near my house and saw the first two real blue butterflies of the spring. They were those little pale blue ones that flutter around the ground. I saw orange and black butterflies and a black one too. Between the sun and the birds and, yes of course, the butterflies I was soaring with joy. It was a good time and about the time I finished the run I realized that I still needed to set aside time for God alone. When I run it is a very self-centered activity. I often connect with God on these runs, but I run for my pleasure. At the time, I did not think that fit the requirements of the assignment.

Sunday was a busy day with Easter, a visit to see John’s dad in the hospital, and a family meal later in the day. Monday I had to work, and by Tuesday, I had forgotten all about the assignment.

Wednesday, I woke up and remembered. We had downpours all day before, and now we were left with a very gray, very cold and damp day. Nevertheless, today would be my date with God. I would go up on the mountain alone, away from phones and computers and other distractions. Out of habit, I glanced at my watch before I started (something I always do when I run). It was 10:30 a.m. I decided not to look at my watch again until the date was over. Even though it was cold, I walked intentionally slow, and tried to be mindful of each step.

I spent the first part of my walk with God talking to Him. I know the real objective is to listen, but sometimes to get there you need to clear the air. I just finished reading the book The Five People You Meet in Heaven, by Mitch Albom, on Tuesday. It left me with a lot of questions about my life and about heaven. I asked God, “What will my heaven be like?” I got an answer in the form of a very clear question, “What is the purest love you have ever experienced?” Very quickly my mind raced to four very potent moments of pure love. The love I felt for my mom when I was a little girl snuggling in her lap when I told her, “Mommy, I don’t want to ever grow up.” The love I felt for John when Bennett was conceived. The love I felt for Bennett when I nursed him to sleep. And the love I felt from other people, people I did not even know, when Bennett died.

I moved deeply into that emotion. My mind and the thoughts stopped, and I felt those moments of love so completely in my heart. I focused on that feeling just below my chest and above my stomach. Feeling love without any thought attached to it is really powerful.

I continued with this intention, connecting to this channel of love. Thoughts interrupted the purity I was seeking from time to time, and sometimes the peep of a bird gently reminded me that I was thinking not just experiencing God’s love.

Even though it was really cold, I was hoping to see a blue butterfly. Wouldn’t that make a great story? But instead, I found God with me in more predictable but commonly overlooked ways…a reflection of the sun (which was not in the gray sky above) in a mud puddle…the sound of the wind moving through the trees…the signs of new life waiting to bust into this world in the form of frog eggs in a vernal pool and colorful buds on an otherwise stark tree…the sound of water rushing over rocks and downed tree limbs from a stream I could not see in a hollow far below where I walked…and in the singing of birds and the cry of a hawk.

I lost myself in this beauty and experienced incredible peace. It was not a beautiful day but I was surrounded by beauty. With a clear mind that was fully engaged in the moment at hand, I felt surrounded by God’s presence and love. What a gift I received.

This made me realize that even when we give God so little, even when we just barely manage to fit God into our busy schedules, God is there waiting to give us so much. No matter how hard we try to just be there for God, we will always come away feeling blessed for the experience. I learned that dedicating an hour or more to God is no sacrifice. God wants to pursue a love relationship with us. Do you want one with Him? Make a date today.

Note: I am very interested in hearing from you if you already set aside time for God on a regular basis or if you decide to give it a try because you read this. How do you experience God? How has it changed your life?


“The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendents, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.” –Deuteronomy 30:6

“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us…” –1 John 4:16-17a


“The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.” –Morrie Schwartz in Tuesdays with Morrie

“To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.” –David Viscott


Dear God, thank you for loving me so much. Your love is the warmth of the sun, the beauty of nature, and the peace of an uncluttered mind. Your love is a gentle embrace, a passionate kiss, a tiny hand on my face. Your love is a clear blue sky, a calm still water, a fiery horizon at dusk. Your love is powerful. Your love is everywhere. Your love is complete. I love you God, and I am so grateful that even though I fail miserably to make time for you. You are always there waiting to love me. Amen.


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