By Melissa McLaughlin
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.
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.