Knowing God

[reprinted from September 2, 2010]

Paul stood in the middle of the Areopagus, and said, “You men of Athens, I perceive that you are very religious in all things. For as I passed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ What therefore you worship in ignorance, this I announce to you. The God who made the world and all things in it, he, being Lord of heaven and earth, doesn’t dwell in temples made with hands, neither is he served by men’s hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he himself gives to all life and breath, and all things. He made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the surface of the earth, having determined appointed seasons, and the boundaries of their dwellings, that they should seek the Lord, if perhaps they might reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. ‘For in him we live, and move, and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also his offspring.’             Acts 17:22-28 (WEB)

I am originally from Missouri. Some would say that my personality is typical of the state motto “Show me”! I like things that I can quantify. I like my desk organized. I dislike clutter. And I think God likes to mess with me on this! It is very difficult for me to ‘just be’ and allow God to ‘drive the car’ or ‘steer the boat.’ I like an outline with well defined goals and sublists on how to achieve the goals. (There are people laughing as they read this and there are some nodding in agreement and wondering what the problem could be!)

God gave me a brain and He gave me gifts. He has blessed me with organizational skills. He expects me to use the gifts He gives me. But sometimes I misuse the gifts. When I attempt to over-think and run ahead of His plan, then I am not where He wants me to be. Paul says to these people that they are very intelligent but they need to remember what they know – that they do not know everything, including not knowing a lot about God.

God understands (since He created me!) that I do not know all about my Creator. It is logical that the created does not know all about the Creator. And so He wants me to walk in faith. God gives me promises; tells me truths. He tells me His grace is sufficient. His love is everlasting. I should be joyful in hope. How do I quantify those things? How do I know when I have ‘enough’ so that I am prepared ‘just in case’? I don’t want to repeat ‘mistakes’ or go through bad times again. I want some kind of ‘God insurance’ (assurance?) that if I just pray enough, study enough, fast enough, serve enough, store up enough, that I will be ‘safe’.

God doesn’t promise that. He promises that He will always be there. He promises that He will not give me more than He can bring me through. The point is that I do not try to do it myself. God is there for me to reach. He is engaged in my life. He died for my life. Jesus is as close as I will allow Him to be.

It doesn’t matter where I’ve come from — only where I am going with God. Today is a brand new day on the journey.

I Live to Know You More written and sung by Darlene Zschech

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