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A Lesson on Learning the Character of God

February 24, 2010

I was raised in a mainline denominational church, actually several as my family moved every few years. As I went to different churches and attended different Sunday School classes and as I grew up I was taught many of the stories from the Bible. I knew all about Adam and Eve, Noah, Jonah, David, Samson, Daniel, and others. I knew about other stories such as some tower that fell down (Tower of Babel), and I remember my brother loving the story of a wheel turning in the sky (there was a song “Ezekiel saw a wheel a turning way up in the middle of the sky). I knew about Jesus. I knew the facts. But somewhere I missed something important, I missed the connection of the dots to make the story into something that fit together.

When I was 15 I became a Christian. I fell in love with Jesus, but honestly looking back now I didn’t know who he was. I thought I did. I guess I was just like the naive young lady who marries her first boyfriend as soon as she is out of high school dreaming of a wonderful life together. I only saw the joy, the hope, and the promise. I did not know about the cost, the unknowns, and the things that were to come. I knew what I had allowed myself to know, but I didn’t really know who Jesus was. I didn’t know about his character, his heart, his being. I knew his names, in fact I had a poster of them on my bedroom wall, but there was something intangible about my faith. I believed in God but he wasn’t deeply real and personal to me.

My freshman year in college I became close friends with Christine. She lived down the hall from me and I think she made me her mission. She knew I believed in God, but when she asked me about praying and reading my Bible the answers were pretty empty. I didn’t know how to read my bible. I used it more like a reference book that you just look things up in. I knew how to use the concordance and that was usually how I found the things I needed, unless someone told me a chapter and verse to look up. My faith was real, but my understanding of God was very shallow.

My journey over the last 25 years has thankfully gone much much deeper. I have a personal walk and life with Christ. I do know him individually and my understanding is not nearly as shallow and “factual” as it was in the past, but I realize I still have a long way to go. I am still aware that I do not really understand who God is. If I did, then it would change my life, my relationships, and my priorities completely. As I learn more and more I am changed, which excites me but sometimes I want it to happen at a faster rate. I am an achiever and want to finish this journey and have it accomplished already, but learning about anyone, especially God, is not that easy. I am learning that my ability to give forgiveness, grace, mercy, and love to others and to have hope, joy, and faith are directly tied to my view of God. Often that view is small, mediocre, factual, and lacking the supernatural. Often that view is what keeps me from overcoming the obstacles in my path, and having brokenness, pain, and issues that continue to exist in my life.

This morning as I sat with the Lord in my daily dedicated time of quiet and surrender I asked him something different. I asked him to show me who he is. For the last 25 years I have opened the Bible, talked with others, listened, watched, studied, and learned. I have had relationship with him and have tried to figure things out. Today I turned to him and said, “God, for 25 years I have tried to make this work, but honestly I don’t know you enough. I keep getting it wrong. I keep guessing and trying to understand you, but I don’t think I have ever asked you to just tell me. So, instead of continuing down this path would you show me and teach me about who you are? Would you tell me about your character? Would you show me your heart and your values?”

In Mark 2 four friends bring their paralyzed friend to Jesus so that he could be healed. They could not get through the crowd so they climbed on the roof and lowered the man down. The story does not say that the man or his friends spoke to Jesus. I expect they did speak, but the facts that God placed in Scripture for us record only that “When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.'” He then went on to speak to the teachers of the law and turned back to the man and not only forgave the sins but healed his physical needs.

That story tells me about the Lord’s character. It gives me a starting point to be able to come to the Him without words but in faith that he will speak, act, and touch my life. So today I come to him just wanting to be close enough to see him and be present, asking him to show me his character. Abraham saw him in a burning bush. Moses was transformed when he met him on Mount Sinai. Jacob wrestled with the Lord. Ezekiel was told to meet with the Lord face to face and he would execute judgment. I am not sure what my encounter with the Lord will be like, but I am confident that daily I will learn more and more about his character and my ability to give forgiveness, grace, mercy, and love will grow. I am confident that my understanding of God will grow from being small, mediocre, factual, and lacking of the supernatural. It is about to change. I am confident that I am about to be amazed and awed by the creator of the universe, the Lord Almighty, the One, the Shepherd, the King. I am confident that everything I have known until now will feel like it was just a story or fact because I will see and experience God in a whole new way. I expect to meet and know the character of God like never before!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 7, 2010 4:56 pm

    I have enjoyed reading your heart felt story. It is amazing the journey we all take to become more and more knowledgeable of our Lord. Your conversation with our Lord in this message is very helpful in my own walk. It is important that we continue the journey of learning more and more about our Lord until we have the ability to see Him in person.

    • March 8, 2010 3:19 pm

      Thank you for stopping by and the encouragement. We are all on a journey and learning. I am so thankful that I get to share that with others and to learn from them also along this journey. The Lord truly is good with how he intertwines us and provides for all we need.

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