by Steve Klassen
I met with my spiritual director on a Thursday and appreciated the question he gave me at the end of our time together. Ask God “What is your posture towards me?”
The very next day I found myself leading the opening session of a retreat on Pender Island. It was late into the evening when I asked the 15 men with me to do something before they went to bed, ask God the question that was given to me yesterday, “What is your posture towards me?”
The next morning Dan asked me if he could share something with the group. He began by saying, “When Steve gave us that exercise last night I didn’t want to do it. So I didn’t. I thought, I’m the cook this weekend. That will be my contribution. So I went to bed without asking God what his posture was towards me.” Dan rose early the next day and enjoyed a coffee while staring out at the beautiful ocean view from the Kroeker’s home. He read the familiar passage in Numbers 6:24-26;
“The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”
Dan researched the passage on Google and an image was given of a father holding a small child. The posture of the father toward the child was full of delight. He began to remember riding behind his father on a motorcycle in Indonesia as a boy. As he sat there it was as though God was saying to Dan – Yes, actually you are doing that exercise Steve gave you last night and my posture towards you is close. Face to face, breath to breath.
In less than a week from that time I was in Winnipeg on a Friday night leading a prayer meeting. I shared Dan’s story and decided to give the group the same challenge, “Let’s ask God what his posture is towards us tonight here in Winnipeg.” The response was very good and the interaction that followed was memorable. One woman spoke out a word to describe God’s posture towards us: “unashamed”.
One man got up and left as I was explaining the exercise. At the end of the meeting he came to me in the foyer with his wife and asked if I would pray with them. He admitted he didn’t want to do the exercise and that he sees God’s posture towards him as…and then he crossed his arms in a cold and serious manner. I affirmed his honesty and knew it was leading him in a good direction. Sunday morning something happened as I was reciting Mark 1 in his church service. The part when Jesus was baptized touched him, especially the voice of the Father speaking to Jesus “You are my Son, whom I love. With you I am well pleased.” God’s posture towards us is consistent with his posture towards Jesus. It’s affirming and personal, face to face, breath to breath.
Have you asked God recently what his posture is toward you?
My counselor just asked me to do the same exercise after a particularly “trying” month at church and work. (I teach at a Christian school.) I’m struggling with the assignment and having a hard time not seeing my earthly dad, who was also my pastor.