Giving Up On Knowing God

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These are images and journal entries from my Solo Sabbatical to Yosemite in January 2010. (Pictures are all from Day One, two more days yet to come.)

Day 1February 1, 2010

First Glimpse of Half Dome - Always Stunning

Knowing God.

Started thinking about this topic this morning – so been mulling it around all morning as I snow shoed around the base of El Capitan and Merced River taking pictures today. (Love snow shoeing by the way.) Really thought it would be a lot more laborious than it is, it’s easy and enjoyable. But anyway, “knowing God” – isn’t that the promise of the Christian life? We can know God!

I gave away my Badger Pass ski lift passes each morning (also included tour bus passes and other perks) at breakfast that came with my Lodge “all inclusive deal” because I didn’t need them, the meal vouchers were all I needed. I’m here just to hike and take pictures. I was offered money each time and just said nope, “they’re as free as God’s salvation.” I almost added, “I hope you’ll get to know Him like I do.” That’s what got me thinking about this. How well DO I know Him?

El Capitan Aglow in Late Afternoon

That’s supposed to be the big offer of salvation! How many Gospel tracts have on the cover, “You can KNOW GOD!” Then why don’t I feel like I know Him? (Should I not be admitting this?) Oh, I know a lot about him – probably more than most people. Try me. And not just on a biblical knowledge basis either, philosophically even. (Don’t ask me to explain, it’s complicated.) ;0) But know God? – come on,  are you serious? He’s GOD for crying out loud! How am I supposed to KNOW Him? What does that even mean?

Understand Him? Yeah, right. Predict His behavior? I wish. Anticipate His moves? Never. Influence His decisions? You could argue prayer – but that’s a stretch. Hang out with Him and shoot the breeze? I hardly think so. Worship Him? Certainly! (I’m doing that here in Yosemite!) But that isn’t knowing Him.

Brideveil Falls in Winter

I worship Him (especially here in Yosemite) precisely because I don’t know Him enough – how He created this place, etc. I understand what He expects, wants, and demands of me well enough – and how far short I fall – and I understand His mercy and grace, even friendship and salvation through the person and work of Jesus Christ — and have accept it!! BUT KNOW HIM?!?!?

El Capitan On Fire from the Evening Sun

I’m not so sure about that – and I’m not even convinced I’m supposed to KNOW HIM – just His TRUTH. The more I marvel at the wonders of Yosemite – the more I am convinced my purpose is not much different from that of Half Dome or El Capitan. I think I have about as much chance of knowing God as one of those Rocks! And only man’s pride tells me I have more chance of knowing God than a towering tree or a flowing river.

Seriously. The more I think about who God is – the more I see that I am just another of His creations. Sure – I’m MORE than a rock – I can talk, write in this journal! (or blog) I’m self aware – and aware that I’m self aware –  and aware that I’m aware that I’m aware and so on! I have a free will, and therefore the capacity for love as well as rebellion – I can be loyal to my Creator – or selfishly act independent of Him even as He sustains my very existence and breath. But know Him?

A Snow Covered Half Dome from Sentinel Bridge

I’d like to meet someone who claims to know God. Seriously. (email me if you do.) I’d like to know what that looks like. For me, I’d like to stop telling people, “You can know God personally.” I’m not sure that’s true. However, perhaps we can say, “God knows you personally, and you can be right with Him.” I think I want to give up trying to “know God” and instead focus on being right with God. Living a life of obedience that pleases God, honors God – and reflects His glory.

Half Dome from Sentinel Bridge After Dark (time lapse)

As I said earlier, my purpose, as a creation of God, is no different that these mountains here – it is to be a testimony to God. The only difference is that they are far more limited in what they can do, however they get to do it for for hundreds of years! I don’t get as long – but have been given much more ability to testify! With words – actions – love – attitudes – etc. HOW I LIVE, the testimony of my life.

I’m not sure my goal in life ought to be to “know God” – I think it is rather that others might be right with God too because they knew me.

Yosemite Fall Taken in Pitch Darkness with Open Shutter

I wonder every time I come here, how people can be in Yosemite and not believe in God. I ought to wonder how people can know me and not believe in God.

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  1. REALLY enjoyed this post. A very honest entry. As for the pictures, I especially liked the ones taken at night. The time lapse photo of Half Dome was beautiful. Good work, bro.

  2. Thanks for sharing Karl – your ending thought: “I’m not sure my goal in life ought to be to “know God” – I think it is rather that others might be right with God too because they knew me.” really touched me – so true!

  3. KNOWING GOD> I also have been going through this time. I am learning that “God is God… and we are not” My family is going through a tremendous time of stressful situations. It all seems to fall on me. I realize that I cannot do it all. But God can. He is a tremendous multi- tasker. And what I know about him equals ~~~ not even a grain of sand in the great desert. He loves me. I love Him. And He is my Father. I desire to serve Him and do all He asks.

  4. Awesome!! Can’t wait for May.

  5. I always enjoy seeing El Capitan during sunset or sunrise. These are always my favorite pictures. Did you add in the stars in some of the pictures or are all of these natural untouched pictures?

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