Have you ever had the experience of expecting things to turn out one way, but when it comes to it, it turns out to be very different from what you expected?
Maybe it was a person. Someone you didn’t really know very well, or someone you had never actually met, but you knew about them. Somehow you had it all worked out in your mind exactly what they were like. But then, when you finally had the opportunity to spend time with them face to face, they were not what you expected.
Books and movies are sometimes like that. You read a novel and you really love the story. You see the characters and play the story out in your mind. Later, you hear that someone is making that book into a movie. You can’t wait to see it! But when you are finally able to watch the movie, you are utterly disappointed. Oh, the story is there… more or less. But the characters don’t look or act anything like you had them pictured in your mind.
For many, their idea of God is like that. They picture God in a certain way, and are convinced that is what He is really like.
But there is a problem with that thinking.
God is not who we make Him to be. He is His own Person.
Just because you or I may think God is one way, it does not mean He actually is like that. He is a Person. He has a personality with specific attributes of character. He has thoughts and emotions, purposes and plans. He makes choices and takes actions.
He is a Personal God.
And by that I mean not only that is He a Person, but that He can be known as one person knows another person: in a personal relationship. In fact, knowing Him and having faith in Him is the key to eternal life. Jesus said it this way,
“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3)
Not that we will ever know all there is to know about Him, after all He is God and we are not. But we can know Him, we can have a relationship with Him. And over time, our faith – that is our trust in Him – grows in proportion to our knowledge of Him. In other words, as we know Him better, we are able to trust Him more.
If your idea of who God is has been based on vague ideas gleaned from childhood experiences, from negative interactions with flawed people, from movies, or perhaps from your own imaginings, stop and consider that God may not be who you think He is – especially if your view of Him is negative or small. But, you have the opportunity to find out what He is really like.
One of my most favorite passages from the Bible is this one:
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:31-32
Don’t give up! If you want to know what God is really like, pursue the truth! Read the Bible, and keep reading it. Pray, and keep praying. Find people of like mind who love God and talk with them about what you are reading and praying. Because if you persevere, your search for truth will be rewarded.
Today is a good day to get to know God a little better. In fact, every day is a great day to grow in your knowledge of who God is. That’s why I call my blog, “Compassionate and Gracious: Contemplating Faith and the Nature of God.” Because my favorite thing to write about is the God of the Bible, the God who is Compassionate and Gracious, the God who desires to be known by those He loves as His children. He is an amazing Person, and there is always more to know and love about Him.