Do you know who God is? Have you personally met Him? If not, it’s time to do so.
I once heard a very wise, learned man say that he had spent years digging out who God is so that others wouldn’t have to. What he meant was that he could teach people through his experiences, and that is true and good. But it only goes so far. Why? Because you have to learn who God is for yourself.
“God-Enthroned, be revealed in splendor
as you ride upon the cherubim!
How perfectly you lead us, a people set free.
Loving Shepherd of Israel – listen to our hearts’ cry!
Shine forth from your throne of dazzling light.
Stir up your mighty power in full display before our eyes.
Break through and reveal yourself by coming to our rescue,
for the sake of those who follow your glory.
Revive us, O God! Let your beaming face shine upon us
with the sunrise rays of glory;
then nothing will be able to stop us.” (1)
Every generation has to learn who God is anew and afresh. We must take what our teachers have taught us, and we must put it into action. We must take the time to meet God. We must “taste and see that the Lord is good.”(2) And we’re going to learn something about Him that makes Him real to us. Today. What’s more, what we learn will probably be different from how our parents or teachers understood Him.
If you look through church history, even the last couple of generations, you will see that usually the successive generation understood God in a way that was different from their parents. Sometimes that was a very bad thing. But sometimes it was very good. And I don’t believe that it was always just because of a change in culture. I believe that it was God meeting people where they were at. And, when it was Him speaking, He was trying to coax humanity to be more like Him, and see Him a little bit clearer.
Now, don’t misunderstand me. God doesn’t change. But He’s big enough that my kids will someday catch a glimpse of Him that I never did. And I hope that I’ll be there to learn from them.
“Gaze upon him, join your life with his, and joy will come.
Your faces will glisten with glory.
You’ll never wear that shame-face again.”(3)
“Drink deeply of the pleasures of this God.
Experience for yourself the joyous mercies he gives
to all who turn to hide themselves in him.
Worship in awe and wonder, all you who’ve been made holy!
For all who fear him will feast with plenty.”(4)
When I was in my early twenties I decided that I was God’s free man. I was going to pursue Him wherever He led, regardless of what I had previously learned or what others had told me was truth. And the God I met was one very different than some of the dogmas others had fed me. I know that the 18-year-old me would honestly be appalled at some parts of today’s me. In other ways, I think that young-me would sigh in relief, because he would see freedom. I’m not the same. And I’m not done yet. Would you join me?
Let’s meet this God for ourselves. Let’s embrace Him for who He is — not who others have said that He is. Let’s meet the Truth.
It’s very possible you haven’t met God yet. That you haven’t discovered the loving, life-giving, freeing God who put you in this generation and wants you to know Him in truth. And that’s okay. There’s no better place to start than right here. There’s no better time than right now.
Here’s what you do. Start by talking to Him. That might sound weird, but really that’s what prayer is — especially to start with. It’s a conversation with God. Then get a Bible, and start reading it. Find a translation that you can understand, and that speaks to you. My two personal favorites currently are The Passion Translation (TPT), and the English Standard Version (ESV). The ESV is probably more accurate, and TPT has more wonder and awe. You’ll get the most out of it if you find someone who knows the Bible and who you trust that can help you understand it.
Whatever you do, don’t just rely on your own thoughts and beliefs and biases. That won’t show you God – that will show you what you want to see. And don’t just rely on the people in your social circle. They’re probably just showing you what they want to see. Learn from all of the available sources. Take the good, throw away the bad. And slowly you will begin to see a more complete picture of God.
Probably the best thing you can possibly do is to pray that God would reveal Himself to you. That He would help you rediscover who He is. And He’ll do it. He might show you Himself in nature. It could be as you stare in wonder at the glittering night sky that you feel His breath on your neck. It could be in another’s words (whether a book, a blog or an audio message) that you feel His fingers racing up your spine. And it will probably be as you set aside time just to talk to Him in prayer that you feel your breath catch as He comes to say “hello.” If you need some help starting, here’s a prayer to get you going. And feel free to make the words your own.
“God, I want to know you. I ask, God, that you would reveal yourself to me. That you would show me my heavenly Father. I don’t want what others say about you, God: I want You. Please show me who you are. Please reveal to me your love, and make your son Jesus’ sacrifice real to me. I give my life to you, and I ask you to remake me in the way you originally saw me to be. I want to know you. I want to love you. Show me how to do it, God. Thank you, Father. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
Just don’t be surprised when God answers you.
I’d be happy to help you in any way you need it. Just send me an email or message me or post a comment and we’ll talk. If you liked this, please share it with someone who could use it. And if you did like it, you should definitely check out my book “The Complete Cancer Diaries.” It’s got some deep, meaningful stuff in it, as well as my story of beating cancer. You can check it out here.
God bless you, and I look forward to talking with you again soon!
1. Psalm 80:1-3 – The Passion Translation
2. Psalm 34:8 – ESV
3. Psalm 34:5 – The Passion Translation
4. Psalm 34:8-9 – The Passion Translation