By Melissa McLaughlin
Getting to Know You
I will always remember the day I first met my husband. During my final year of college, I decided to visit an area church at the recommendation of a friend. Following the worship service, cookies and juice were served in the fellowship hall downstairs. As I reached for a sugar cookie, I heard a soft voice say hello. He was tall and handsome with a kind face and warm smile. We shared our names and a little about ourselves, chatted about the weather and the church service. His gentle voice and caring manner made it a joy to be near him. Most of all, I was drawn to his deep faith in Christ which glowed through our conversation.
In no time at all, we began visiting, calling, dating and spending more time together. I didn’t want to just know about him, I wanted to know him. What a delight getting to know someone who loved the Lord and cared deeply about me! We discovered things the other liked and took time to enjoy these interests together, making an extra effort to please the other. I recall one example of this at the culmination of my college degree program, when I began a semester of student teaching. My husband (then boyfriend) put together a tin of classroom supplies as a gift to encourage me in my first week. Likewise, though my efforts were pitiful, I tossed the football with him in the backyard to share in one of his favorite sports. I soon learned he was an artist and saw another side of him through the visual beauty he created. Day by day, hour by hour, we knew and appreciated one another more.
One cherished memory about my husband during this time was his commitment to our budding relationship. Just as a visit or phone call was ending, he would ask when could we talk or visit again. Then he would come or call exactly when he said he would. His love for me was steady and sure.
As time passed, we shared meals, we shared our activities, we shared our families, we shared Bible verses, we shared commitment for one another. We shared love.
Following graduation, I moved back home with my parents while searching for a teaching job. During that time, it was too far to visit daily. So my husband and I wrote letters to one another to fill in the gaps. Seeing his written words allowed me to read and reread his thoughts toward me, which anchored our love even more, though the distance separated us.
Getting to know and love my husband took time, intentionality and commitment, but being married to him was worth the effort. I consider it a great joy and privilege to have a Christian marriage. My husband is good, faithful, funny, kind, thoughtful and loving. Above all, he helps strengthen my faith in Christ. I do not take this gift from God for granted.
However, as wonderful as a Christian marriage can be, there is no love that is deeper, higher or truer than the love God has for each one of us.
Getting to Know God
But, how can I know God? How can I know Him better?
In many respects, it is difficult to envision a relationship with God. Unlike with human relationships, God is…well, God. God is the Creator of the heavens and earth. The majestic mountains towering in the distance were formed by His hand. The rivers that rush toward the ocean were filled at the sound of His voice. Every creature great and small is His design. From the mightiest elephant trumpeting through the jungle to the tiniest ladybug flitting in the wind, it’s all His. His painting, His architecture, His program, His composition, His poem.
How can a mere human being possibly know God?
The incredible wonder is that the God of all creation reaches down to us and makes it easy to know Him.
Here are 4 ways we can know God.
1. Creation – One way we can know God is by the work of His hands. God’s creation speaks of His character. The gloriously arrayed details of the sunflower. The incredibly complex, intricate and precise workings of the human eye. The vastness and mighty roar of the ocean waves. The wide open blue skies that go on and on. The soothingly predictable patterns of the growing season, which bring forth a harvest of juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers and tender sweet corn year after year. The tenderness of a mother cat bathing, feeding and tending her newborn kittens.
Without a doubt, God has revealed Himself to us through His creation. The beauty, complexity, vastness, patterns and tenderness seen in nature give evidence of a Creator who is far beyond us, yet who is also lovely, gentle and caring.
2. His Word – To give us a deeper understanding, God has also revealed Himself through His Word, the Bible. The Bible is a magnificent story, detailing God’s plan to redeem His rebellious people and draw them back to Himself for all eternity. The Bible is God’s love letter to us. It reveals more of His character in plain black and white.
From the Bible, we discover that God is holy, just and righteous as shown in His perfect judgments regarding sin and wrongdoing. However, He is also loving, forgiving, merciful and kind, as we see in His patient work with His people.
3. His Son – As a result of God’s deep love for us, He sent His Son Jesus, to die for our sins and win us for Himself. In Hebrews 1:3a we read, The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. Through the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ, we see God’s justice and righteousness interwoven with His sacrificial love and forgiveness. His power and His powerful love are on full display in Jesus.
Of all the religions in the world, Christianity is the only one where God reaches down to draw humanity up to Him. In all other religions, mankind attempts to reach God by our own efforts. What a gift, Jesus has done it all!
4. His Spirit – After Jesus ascended into heaven, He sent His Holy Spirit to live in the hearts of all who believe. This most wonderful gift from God, His own Spirit indwelling believers, is the final way God reveals Himself to us. Through His Holy Spirit, He helps us appreciate the glory of His creation, understand more clearly the truth of His Word and take in the depth of His justice and mercy poured out through Jesus Christ.
Of all God’s creation, only one thing was made in God’s image. Human beings. Though we are created from the very dust of the earth, we are created in a special way and carry a unique trait. We carry His image and so God loves us in a special way.
We need not be perplexed or confused at how to know the God who created us. We need not consult a priest or pastor to know God for us. We need not consult tea leaves or astrology horoscopes or crystals or use any spiritualized human-based tactics of our culture.
Though God is vast beyond all measure and set apart from His creation, He loves each one of us and desires to be in a relationship with us. So, God has chosen to reveal Himself to us, redeem us and draw us near to Him through His creation, His Word, His Son and His Spirit.
May we relish this most precious and sacred gift, a relationship with God. The Eternal and Everlasting God, the Creator of the universe, the Great I AM, the LORD of hosts, the Living God who reigns forever. Though God is great, though God exists outside of His creation, though God is holy and different from us, yet we can know Him. One so great loves ones so small. What a privilege! Adding to this privilege is the fact that no matter how long or deep your relationship with God, there is always more to learn, experience and enjoy!
Much like when I first met my husband, growing in a relationship with the Lord, means we must spend time with Him in order to learn and experience who God is and understand what pleases Him. May we increasingly set aside time to know and love God by appreciating His handiwork, reading His Word, reflecting on the beauty of His Son and inviting His Holy Spirit to draw us closer still.
Can I really know God?
Yes! God made us. God knows us. God loves us. God calls to us every day through His creation, His Word, His Son and His Spirit.
May we answer that call and run to Him with all the love in our hearts!
God’s Creation Psalm 19:1-4 – The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.
God’s Word Psalm 19:7-11 – The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
John 14:15 – If you love me, keep my commands.
God’s Son, Jesus Christ 2 Corinthians 4:6 – For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
God’s Holy Spirit John 14:26 – But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
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This is beautiful! Amen. We are given many opportunities to know Him.
You are right, Melissa, God has set forth so many beautiful ways for us to know and love Him. Ready access to our Savior and Lord! What a gift to be provided so many opportunities to know Him. Bless you!
I keep running to Him every day! As fast as I can!
Ha, ha! Run, my sister, run! There’s no better race, no better pursuit, no greater prize that Jesus Christ! Bless you, as you press in to know Him more!
I remember reading the gospel of John as a young Christian and noticing how many times Jesus emphasized knowing Him. What an important aspect of our faith that is.
Knowing Jesus, Knowing God is such a privilege and gift. It still amazes me that God wants me to know him and he wants to me know. 🙂
You are right! What an incredible privilege and gift to know God. When you think about important people in our lives, we can’t even call them or get near them, but God is the most important One ever and He desires to be in a close relationship with us. Amazing love!
Excellent post, Melissa! And going back to the first of the post, I kind of hope sugar cookies is always the go to dessert for you both!!!
Thank you, Jeff, for reading and commenting! I appreciate your kind and encouraging words. Yes, I will always remember and cherish those cookies!
All good ideas (with practical application) showing how we can get to know God better! Good job, Melissa!
Thank you, Valerie, for sharing your input here! Though many who have walked with the Lord Jesus for some time may already know the ways God reveals Himself to us, sometimes it’s good to make sure new believers have this understanding and at the same time reignite the joy in longtime believers, to be in awe once again at God’s deep desire to be in a relationship with us!
God loving me and accepting me is hard for me to understand but I am so blessed and thankful that he does.
I could not agree more, Yvonne! To think that the God of the universe loves us so deeply, that He would reveal Himself to us and send Jesus, to make Himself accessible to anyone who will have faith. Truly amazing. It’s hard to take in the magnitude of such love. But like you, I am blessed and thankful that He does!
Good take on Love. How do I love my spouse, family and even God. It is counter-cultural to have to work at love, but that is what is biblical. Good stuff Melissa.
Thank you, Aaron, for reading and sharing your feedback! Yes, love takes time, commitment and sacrificial giving of ourselves. But it is worth it! Ultimately, a self-centered life leaves one empty. We were made to know and love God and others. May the God who is Love, fill us that we may love Him and others more. Bless you!
Wow. It IS amazing , the idea of having a personal relationship with God. I loved reading about your love story, too, by the way. And I remember seeing some of your husbands paintings you and he have shared online. Very nice stuff. You both appreciate the details of God’s creation and your conversations must be very thoughtful as you get to know Him better. Creation is awe-inspiring. I enjoy that way of getting to know God, too. Thank you for this encouraging post.
So amazing! It is truly awe-inspiring to think that the God of all creation wants to be in a relationship with us! May we soak in that incredible reality each day! And the lengths He has gone to, in order to make this possible. Wow. Thank you for taking the time to read our love story, Stephen and you remembered my husband’s artwork! You have a great memory! Yes, God’s creation definitely speaks volumes in our lives. May God bless you and draw you ever near to His heart!
This is a beautifully detailed description of the growth of human love and of the love of God for us, shown in his evident creativity and in our invitation to be in relationship with him. You detailed all of this with such loving and descriptive language. A powerful post, Melissa!
Thank you, Melinda, for the kind and encouraging words. Glory to our great God! What a mighty God with a mighty love toward us! I pray we can pause and take in this great gift each day. To glorify God and enjoy Him forever – what a privilege and joy!
Such a beautiful introduction, Melissa. I so enjoyed reading about how you met your husband and the intentionality of you both in the love-relationship. And how much that relates to our love-relationship with the God of the universe. My personal ministry mission statement: “To know God more and make Him known.” Sometimes people ask me why I need to know God more if I belong to Him already. It’s all the reasons you state here. To get to know Him better through creation (The heavens are declaring the glory of God, and their expanse shows the work of his hands. Psalm 19-1-2); through His Word…a love letter written just to us; through Jesus, who God used to allow us to know more about Him because God brought heaven down to us; and through the Spirit who lives in us and helps us grow nearer to God increasing in the knowledge of Him (Colossians 1:10). Thank you for this wonderful post!
Karen, I love your personal ministry mission statement “To know God more and make Him known”. And you are right, it lines up beautifully with what I shared in this posted about knowing God. When we pause and take it all in, I find it utterly astonishing that the God who created all things, loves us so much to make Himself readily accessible that we may know Him, love Him and be in a relationship with Him. Deeper, truer and more loving than any other relationship. Available to every single person who is willing to choose Christ. May our hearts be stirred again today to know and love our God!
Such a wonderful post! I love the story of how you and your husband met. God’s great love story for us is beyond any love story that we know apart from Him. And yet, God is a part of every love story ever written. Love is God’s language, and we know it when we see it. The closer we are to God, the better able we are to converse with others in the language He created us for. To love one another is the greatest commandment and the greatest joy that we will ever know.
How beautifully stated, Linda! Truly, God’s love story for us is beyond any earthly love story, and yet His love is at the core of all our loving relationships. Yes, loving God is the most important thing, for all love flows from Him. Then we have the love to give others. What a good, good Father!
I came back again today to read this post another time! You have pulled everything together so well…much to contemplate! I deeply appreciate how you compiled different passages of scripture to reveal God’s great love story for us. Thank you!
I am humbled, dear Linda, that you would take the time to revisit and reflect on this post again. How gracious and kind of you! I must say, when I pause and take in the magnitude of who God is and then look at all He has done to be in a relationship with us, now and forever, I am floored. Such power and such powerful Love! May our hearts overflow with love for our Father God as we see Him in the world He has made, in His Word, in the face of His beautiful Son and through His Spirit within!
Melissa, while reading this, tears poured down my face. First, I thought it was because it was so sweet. Then I realized, yes, that, plus there is nothing more real and more important than this. It conjures up many feelings, however, not the least is of what a Magnificent God we serve! 💖
Dear Mary, you are so kind! I’m humbled and thanking God that He allowed these words to touch your heart so deeply… most of all with His great love for us! You are right, what a Magnificent Loving God we serve! Thank you for taking the time to read and join me in this reflection. Bless you, sweet sister!
I too, felt this was a very moving post. It is one to come back to again and again!!
Dear Linda, how kind of you! Your words of encouragement help to carry me through. I pray we can take a moment to pause daily and remember the staggering truth that the God of the universe sees each one of us, loves each one of us and went to the cross in order to draw each one of us near. Such love! Such amazing love!
I happened upon your post in the feed and the title drew me. Your introduction … spot on, the comparison … excellent, your words … powerful. It brought tears to my eyes. Yes the God who created us loves and desires a relationship with us and for me that knowledge is humbling and beautiful.
Thank you for these kind and heartfelt words! I appreciate you taking the time to read and share your insights. It is truly humbling and beautiful to think that our Creator and God would love us so deeply. God bless you!
God bless you as well!