Knowing God. Me?

By Debbie Shope

Knowing God.  Really?  How does that work?  God is, after all, God.  And I am, well . . . me . . . a mere mortal.  But I have to admit, the thought of knowing – the One who is immortal, the One who bestows life with a breath, the One who is holy and seemingly “unknowable” – the thought of knowing Him is enticing, exhilarating, and terrifying all at the same time.  And yet, this is what we, as Christians, are called to do.  The Apostle Paul went so far as to say that he considered everything a loss except for knowing Jesus.  So where do we start?

This summer, the Adult School of Discipleship is studying the attributes of God, using the book Knowing God by J I Packer.  I want to say that this book had a profound impact on my life at a very important time, but that would not be completely true.  It was the God whom the book points us to, whom Dr. Packer humbly seeks to make known to us, that made the difference.  At a time when “why?” was arguably the biggest question in my world, I learned that God is wise.  I learned that His wisdom is perfect, and that whatever has happened in the past, or more challenging for me now, whatever comes in the future, is wrought by the hand of a wise God.  He always chooses the best means to the best end.  I also learned that He is loving, that it is impossible for Him not to love.  It is who He is, and nothing I do or that has been done to me can ever change that.  And in that “knowledge”, I found rest.

In Isaiah 11 we are told that there will no longer be any hurt or destruction or reason to fear, all because “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea”.  That is the power of knowing God: the power to turn a world upside down; to make what is wrong right again, regardless of whether that world is a global or an individual one.  I am so often busy asking God what He wants me to do and be and believe, that I forget to ask about Him.  I forget that He is not the ultimate search engine, but a Person.  I need to plead, with the psalmist, “Lord, show me your ways”.  In other words, “in your mercy, show me who You are.”  So I will be re-reading Knowing God this summer, and waiting for an answer.