When you think of “God”, what floods your mind? For some, images of a wrathful, vengeful huge huge being immediately come to the fore. Others picture a loving grandpa figure with a long white beard à la Santa. And then, there are yet others with images that fit anywhere in the spectrum between these two.
For those who, like me, grew up in the church, it’s a lot easier to claim to know God. Heck, you poke one of us, and we’d probably end up spewing Scriptures, kinda like this guy hilariously illustrates. Too funny! Anyway, I’m at a point in my growth in which I realize fully that I don’t really know Him. In many ways, I still know of Him. Yes, I do know parts of Him, because I’ve experienced those parts. There are definitely people in the Bible who, after they encountered God in some manner, came up with a name to fit that experience. So, a person (cough, Abraham, cough) who saw God provide for him when he most needed it called Him Jehovah Jireh (Hebrew for “the Lord will provide”). For another guy named Gideon, due to an experience of the peace of God, built an altar and named it Jehovah Shalom (“the Lord is peace”). What an incredible experience it must’ve been for him to cause him to do that. But, yea, these are just a few examples.
In the present day, we have read about these parts of God and may have even experienced some of those parts. But, is that all He is? Or is there more to Him?
Those who have pressed in to know Him more (in both the Bible and human history) have usually declared at the end of their days that they still don’t know Him! Every time I hear of that, I think: “huh!” Now, how is that possible? I guess that might help explain why I often hear people say they can’t wait to go to heaven and spend all eternity knowing God. I’ve always scratched my head at that. So, friends, I thought I should dig into this phenomenon a bit more. Who is God?
I find myself, in my human limitation, always wanting to refer to Him as a being. As in: He is a being that is both knowable and not knowable. But, surely He’s not even that. A being, I mean. When I think of the word “being”, I think of a created one. I could be wrong here. Are there other ways you think of that word?
Anyway, in different parts of the Bible you see statements like: “for who can know the Lord’s thoughts?” (Rom. 11:33). I daresay that’s a rhetorical question if I ever saw one. Or check out this description of God: “He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see…” (1 Tim. 6:15-16).
Umm…. Ok, let’s do one more. Just because we’re having such fun. “These are just the beginning of all that He does, merely a whisper of His power…” (Job 26:14).
You ever come across someone who captures so well what you’re trying to say? That’s Erik for me. Good on him.
Bottom line? I reckon that trying to know Him more will take the same amount of effort (or more) that it takes to pursue knowing that guy or gal you’re (or were) interested in. The intensity of focus, the passionate desire, and the sheer thrill of the ride are the same things we could apply in this venture.
I have a feeling it’ll all have been worth it in the end.