- Isabella F
Who is God? Why can I trust Him? How can I know Him?
Everyone asks these questions at some point in their life and there is no shame in asking them. Questions like these help spur us on to the next phases of growing. They help us dig deep into the meaning of life and what is beyond the grave. We all have questions and none of them should be swept under the rug. There might be ones that cannot be fully answered but that shouldn't stop our exploration for the truth. That truth being who is God, how do we know Him, and how we relate to Him on a deeper level.
Throughout the Bible we see God revealing Himself to His people in the ways He led (Psalm 37:23-24), provided (Romans 8:32; 2 Cor. 9:8), had mercy (Exodus 34:6-7; Eph. 2:4-5), loved (1 John 4:7, 19; Jer. 31:3), and showed justice (Ecc. 3:17; Isa. 30:18-19). We see that as God shows Himself to His people, they begin to trust and experience what it is really like to know Him. In John 17:3, John talks about how eternal life is knowing God, the only true God. The word knowing in this context comes from the Greek word ginóskó. A knowing that comes from an intimate relationship. As in a relationship between a husband and a wife; a deep connection. Once we begin to know God in a more relational way, what follows next is trusting Him. To trust who He is and why it's worth it to follow Him.
God's main desire for His people, you and I, is to know Him. He longs to be in a constant relationship with us. Satan does not. Satan will stand in the way of our desire to know God personally by spilling lies into our lives. He will make us think that God is holding back on us, that God isn't being fair, that God's provisions are boring, and that God asks the impossible. To counter these lies, we need to return our attention to the truth of God's Word (the Bible) and who He says He is. We're reminded in Psalms 34:10 and Philippians 4:19 that God provides for all that we need, even when it doesn't seem like much to us or is not what we're used to. In thinking about the word fair, it's actually considered to mean what things benefit 'me' and we tend to confuse fairness with justice. God isn't fair but He is just. He deals with each person differently, even though His love and how much He cares for us is the same. In our own minds, what God calls us to will seem impossible, but God doesn't call us to walk alone. He wants to work through it with us, by leading the way.
While many of God's attributes are great and have mighty power in their own way, none outweighs another. God's strength goes hand in hand with His gentleness (Isaiah 40:10-11). His justice and love are entwined (Psalm 33:5). There is also a balance to Him with being the creator and shepherd to His people. Our speaker, Mari Carmo, said that a creator has "no tolerance for less than perfection" whereas a shepherd "always works with weakness; imperfection and disobedience." God is merciful and relational. He chose to create us, even when He knew we would not remain faithful and obedient. He wanted to be our God and to be known by us.
One of God's goals is to share His unfailing, never-ending love with us. During class, Mari said that "God is the initiator of the relationship with man. Christianity is unique among the religions of the world, in that it consists not of man seeking God but of God seeking man." This reveals once more that He is faithful, compassionate, merciful, and trustworthy.
Even though there is still so much more to God than we can see (just picture an iceberg), He wants to make Himself known to us even still. If we are open to exploring the untreaded waters with Him, He is sure to continue unfolding parts of His nature and character to us day after day.