HOW CAN YOU REALLY KNOW GOD?
When I found out that eternal life is actually experienced and lived in knowing God as Father and as Jesus (See Secret Ideas – 1, John 17:3) I was intrigued and kind of excited.
I understood immediately this was the kind of “knowing” similar to how spouses (ideally) get to know each other. Years and years unfold and still husbands and wives find out new things about each other: dreams, fears, desires, annoyances, passions, aspects of each others’ characters.
Or it’s like the ideal relationship between parents with their child, where the “knowing” is more one-sided. As the child grows, the parent enjoys the unfolding of the spiritual, emotional and physical design of their son or daughter. In response, they nurture that design so their child can be successful being themselves.
But with God, this “knowing” comes packaged with something more.
Knowing God comes with Eternity.
Somehow I knew the words of Jesus in John 17:3 were not about fire insurance, but about an abundant, fulfilled life starting right here, right now, on this earth, and then continuing on in heaven.
Eternity was being handed to me on a golden platter. I reached for it and I continue to reach for it as I’m offered more of what God has for me. I look less and less at the messes in my life and what needs fixing. Instead, my eyes watch God unveil mysteries hidden in Him AND in me.
Turns out, this “knowing” is a two-sided relationship reminding me of both the ideal marital and parental relationships. I’m not just discovering God. I’m finding out where my deepest joys hide and discovering how God made me and why, so I could be…. Me! In all my glorious messy self, living with a sense of awe and experiencing God’s deep love and acceptance of me as His daughter and friend.
But how did I get to this place called Eternity? The key is clear. Knowing God, BUT… How can you really know God? I mean, before eternity I think I knew about God, but actually knowing him, like a husband or a parent? I looked around for someone who could explain to me how I could get there.
There were lots of Christians I met who spoke of having a relationship with God, but what did they mean? I felt His presence when I prayed and went to church. I heard his voice in my thoughts and sensed His leading in my life. But I’ve known many people on that level before – like really good teachers. But a teacher-student relationship isn’t as “knowing” as a husband-wife relationship or a parent-child relationship.
I’d been trying everything I knew to do to get to that better place: worship, bible study, church, more prayer. All good stuff, but I knew that the kind of “knowing” I was looking for was missing.
Then I met Yolanda.
I had known about her before, but frankly I was content avoiding her. She gave seminars and workshops for women on dealing with past loss. Dwelling on my past had absolutely no appeal to me. It was pretty ugly and besides, it was, “covered by the blood.” (This is a favorite bible quote to remind us that all our sins are forgiven, so there is no reason to go back in the past to look at our sins.)
But God had been speaking to me, STRONGLY, about going to her women’s retreat. I had to give in and there she was, talking about drop dead honesty with God in order to have intimacy with Him. Intimacy? With God? That was actually the first time I had ever heard of having intimacy with God. I didn’t know what she meant – at all! – and I was ready to tune out.
But then she started telling her story.
Now, I’m a storyteller. And all storytellers love all stories, not just their own. So I was drawn in to what she had to say. As she talked I heard about how she had dangerous, secret ideas about God, ideas putting His goodness into question. She said she only discovered those ideas, hidden in her own heart, by being drop-dead honest about how she really felt about God – to His face.
And what she had to say to Him… wasn’t nice.
In her story, the communication between them escalated, it finally came to a head when she asked Him about a very painful part of her past. It was the hardest question of all:
Where were YOU God, when I was so alone and frightened, hurting so much I felt like dying?
It was in that moment of pain real intimacy between God and Yolanda began. Pretending to believe in God’s goodness was no longer good enough. It had to be real. This time, there was no slamming of doors and running away. He listened to her and she listened to Him, until she could put her heart back into His hands.
God showed her what He experienced back in that moment of her life. He showed her how He never left her, how He was fighting for her heart, but that she had pushed Him away, because she didn’t understand who He really was or who she really was to Him.
It’s then she realizes this place of pain and loss in her life was where some of those dangerous, secret ideas of God began to grow. Over time, God answered more hard questions with more love, revealing His true nature, so she could replace those secret ideas with the truth of who He really is – a Father she could trust.
This was the first story I ever heard that showed me what the “knowing” looked like when it came to relationship with God. Part of me thought it was crazy, but the eternal part of me reached out and said, “Yes.”
Since then, I’ve been enjoying a growing intimacy with God and now I’ve got a few stories of my own. They come replete with villains (The User, The Trickster, The Punisher) and heroes (The Pool Maker, Good Father, The Finisher). And I’m looking forward to sharing those stories. Until then…
Shining in 2013,
Secret Ideas – Questions to ponder
Do you have a secret idea about God deeply embedded in your heart, just below your own radar? How did you find it? Were you able to overcome this secret idea? Were you able to bring it to God and discover a special facet of His character to replace your secret idea? How did that go? Has he shown you yourself too, and how you uniquely reflect His image, unlike any other daughter or son that’s ever been created?
I would love to hear about it. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who would benefit from your story.
Use the reply box below if you would like to share about the amazing God you know and what you had to overcome to know him in that way. OR start your own blog and send me the link!!!
Carla Porter writes, sings, designs architectural interiors and loves God, all in Los Angeles, California.
© 2013, Carla Porter and Whisper of Grace, all rights reserved.