Recently on the TV show The Voice, Emily Ann Roberts sang, “I Come to the Garden Alone” – a song she chose to honor her grandfather.  Listening to her angelic voice, I was reminded of how Sabbath keeping and silent meditation on God has shifted my perspective of that well-loved hymn.

Though I always thought the song was beautiful, I used to wonder about the words in the chorus that say that the joy God and I share in quiet is shared by us alone.  This portion of the song confused me, I thought the words were a bit prideful and misguided.  How dare the songwriter assume that the joy they experienced was a joy no other Christian had ever experienced?  That was before I began the practice of Sabbath keeping and silent meditation on God.

Since developing this practice I find that through His Spirit, God speaks to me personally.  He never contradicts His Word, but He reaches my heart and spirit with the exact message I need.  I have come to understand that having a relationship with God means intimacy, and that intimacy sometimes involves messages that are for me alone.  I don’t mean that when God tells me, “I love you”, He never says it to any of His other children.  I do mean that when He says it to me, He says it in the exact way He wants me to receive it at that moment.

I recall experiencing this kind of intimate communication one Sabbath while meditating on the love of God.  His voice came to my heart and asked,”Robby, do I love you?”  I answered, “Yes God.  You love the whole world, and because I’m part of your world I know you love me.”  God’s voice again spoke to my heart, “I’m not asking you about who or what else I love.  I want to know if you believe I love you?”  Oh.  I had never considered that question for myself.  I knew God was asking me what I believed about His love for me, and that He wanted me to answer this very important question.  Asking myself that question, I thought back on all the ways God has been such a loving Father, how He has led and protected me, and all the answered prayers.  My answer came easily, and I knew in a way I had never known before that God loves me personally and intimately.  In that moment I went from believing God loved the world enough to send His Son to die for all people, to believing that I am His especially loved child.  Because of that moment of listening to the truth God was speaking into my life, my view of God, my relationship with Him and my life have been forever changed.

In that moment I experienced what the songwriter was saying, that God’s voice to me in quiet will be specific and personal.  I now know the words of this song are not prideful or misguided, but awe-inspired and humbling.

I am thankful Emily Ann chose this song to honor her grandfather.  And I am thankful for the truth of the words of the song  – that God communicates personal messages to His children that He knows we need to hear.  RK