based only on my feelings about Him.
I’ve heard a lot of people say that they know God without reading the Bible. And you know, I am sure that there are people that really do walk with God without the benefit/availability of His Word. I do not dispute that.
But I do think that there is some major error in only knowing God through your own eyes and experiences.
Because this is the biggest thing I am going through right now, I want to put it in the context of fertility.
I want to be pregnant and I am not and it is not an easy road. The journey to pregnancy may be over after this month, or it may continue on. But as a human, I know that 1) I wanted to be pregnant months (well, actually, years) ago and 2) I am not, at the moment pregnant nor a mom. Yet, all around me there are women getting pregnant with multiple babies without any difficulty. If I were to describe God based on this experience, I would only think of Him as being unfair with a wicked sense of humor.
But because I have the benefit of His word and my brothers & sisters in Christ, they help give me a more complete picture of who God is. I know of Abraham and Sarah in the Bible who God promised would begin a great lineage of nations, with descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky. And at first, it did not work out according to THEIR plan, but ultimately, it did work out according to GOD’S plan. When it worked out according to God’s plan, God blessed them AND He was glorified in it.
The blessing of God’s word also describes a just AND merciful God who knew that there was nothing I could do to be worthy of His love, but loved me all the same and sent His son to die for m. I think often of what a tremendous tragedy it would be if Jesus just died and was never risen. I think of how sad and full of despair the disciples must have been that Friday – wondering why God would do this to them and take away their leader.
But they only knew sadness and despair on Friday because their knowledge was limited (Paul says, “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”) and they didn’t know entirely what God had planned (even though Jesus was giving them all of the information they needed in His teachings). And how much greater was God’s plan that what they ever could have imagined?
In my limited knowledge of God, based on my limited experience and understanding of Him, I could very quickly determine that God was not a God for me because He allowed others to have children, but not me (on my timing). By doing that, I would also quickly forget the abundance of blessings and grace that He poured out over my life so far (a wonderful family, a fantastic husband, a rewarding/challenging career, lovely friends, the gift of being born in a country where I can be free to speak and pray) and in my selfish short-sidedness, I would try to reduce God to an impotent, uncaring, unloving, cruel God.
But when I spend time learning about God in the Bible and in community with other believers, I am reminded of the enduring character of God’s love. I am reminded of all the prayers that He answered that I simply turned around on and said, “I deserved that anyway.” I am reminded that His vision and plan is much larger and still more intricate than anything I could ever wrap my brain around.
Because I know how my brain works, I know that I couldn’t know God without knowing the stories of the Bible. I know I too quickly forget the good times when faced with the bad. I know I too quickly feel entitled to receive the blessings that He’s given me. I too quickly fall deep into myself.