Before I continue my series of posts on my solo sabbatical in Yosemite, I want to follow up on my last post, Giving Up on Knowing God. I think I freaked a few people out by some of the private e-mails I got of concerned people who thought I was denying my faith! I let it hang there for awhile because I put a challenge in there for anyone who knew God to e-mail me and tell me what that looked like. I was seriously hoping someone would. Well, last night while at Chipotle with my son, I got the e-mail from a guy named Kirk saying bluntly “I know God!”, and it made my day. Reprinted with the writer’s permission, here it is:
I know God! Like you, I started by knowing about Him, and then gradually getting to know Him more and more. Finally, I set my mind to get to know Him “personally.” This itself was the light bulb moment – it was when I DECIDED that I was going to relentlessly pursue this. And then I found Him, just as He promises us. He’s there in the stories of the bible … the things that make Him smile, the things that really piss Him off, and the things in between. Some things He doesn’t like, but He tolerates … other things make Him so happy He brags about us! It’s all there in the pages of the bible. I can show you how. It’s the coolest thing ever, because He is SO real. And when He becomes that real, one can write something like the 23rd Psalm (written by another man who knew Him)… or pray prayers like John 17, etc. [Have you ever imagined what it would feel like to BE David – to be ABLE to write the 23rd Psalm, and have it be true?] Email me if you want, and we can “talk.” You’ll love it. Anyway, please take me up on my offer to show you how to get to KNOW Yahweh. He wants you to – He really does.
It took a lot of courage for Kirk to write this e-mail. He didn’t know me, he had come to my blog for the first time after someone recommended he look into my ministry as a way to sell a resource he is developing – imagine his surprise when this post was his first introduction to me! Here was my response to him:
Thank you so much for your note. You made my day! I was so much hoping someone would have the courage to respond to my challenge and e-mail me because I DO indeed believe we can know God, Scripture makes that abundantly clear from cover to cover!! And I do know God, as you describe. I was just so humbled as I always am by my smallness when I am in Yosemite and surrounded by the BIGNESS and GREATNESS of God, it is just so humbling and I think we need to never be too flippant or trite about what it means to know God, but yes, that is the Amazing Offer that God extends to know Him, it is the beautiful offer of salvation. I just think we throw that offer around to loosely at times… it is an AWESOME thing to say, “You can know God.” To stick that on a bumper sticker is almost… I don’t know how to say it… is our God not Big enough? Have we made him a size we can handle? I think if we truly understood Him, would we ever sin?
Anyway, I do believe we can know God, Scripture is quite clear on it, and I planned to follow up on my blog:
On one hand God knows us….
1 Corinthians 8:3
But the man who loves God is known by God.
But scripture also talks of us knowing God… (in addition to showing it as you described!)
Formerly, when you did not know God….
But now that you know God—or rather are known by God…
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
1 John 4:6
We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us…
1 John 4:7
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
I was so curious to see if anyone would have the boldness to take me up on my challenge and email me and say “I know God!” THANK YOU for doing so! I really thought I’d be challenged more for that post! If no one did, I was really going to be disappointed. Perhaps more struggle with not feeling like they know God. I’m sure it is a struggle, because we do all fall short and feel that gap between where we are and where we want to be!
May I share your email on my blog, with only your first name? And I’d be happy to “talk” more with you – as I have plenty of room to grow and would appreciate any insight you have to share on how I can know God better.
Then he replied:
Whew! I’m so relieved to get this response … I was a bit concerned about being so bold. But then it also occurs to me that’s a shame, too, isn’t it? Isn’t it a shame that we should consider it bold to proclaim that we know our own Father? Wow. Man, I love talking about God, thinking about God, fearing Him and loving Him. HE is everything. Two lines in your note below say SO MUCH (I’m tempted to write a book or two in response, but I won’t because you obviously already “get it”): “Have we made him a size we can handle? I think if we truly understood Him, would we ever sin?” I’m afraid we’re all guilty of making God in our image … sad. (….)
I’ve since been enjoying some good conversation with Kirk that I’m sure will continue! In the end, I still stand by my original post – I’m not “taking it back,” the more we get to understand God the smaller we ought to see ourselves, and the greater God becomes and the more impossible it seems that we could ever “know God” my conclusions in that post stand – and YET at the same time, all the more amazing and incredible it is that THIS SAME GOD WANTS US TO KNOW HIM! And invites us to do so despite our sinfulness.
Feast on that!