Some people say that God’s ways are unknowable, mysterious beyond our small minds’ comprehension but I say we CAN know God and his ways. Maybe not everything about God but certainly more than many people think is possible.
Let’s look at a verse that some suggest demonstrates our inability to know God.
Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.” Here’s the context for these words. God is speaking about his own mercy and how he will abundantly pardon the people for their transgressions. So I learn that God wants us to know his love and how he will reconcile us. That surprises a lot of people who have learned only a judgmental and punishing side of God.
I am learning that God’s essence is love and that love is never changing but that God’s experience changes as God relates to the creation and especially to you and me as God’s beloved. Malachi 3:6 says, “For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.” Some use the first part of that verse to say God is immutable, never changing. It’s God’s love that never changes. Read the story of Israel and see how God accommodates the people at every turn. Read how Moses changed God’s mind about the destruction of the Israelites. (Exodus 32:14)
I am learning that God’s power is not coercive control but rather a loving, persuading influence on the creation.
I am learning that God wants to partner with us as God did with Adam and Eve and Abraham. Let me put it this way. God needs us and looks for us. Read Genesis 3:8,9 “And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” No matter how you look at the verse it is plain that God looks for us as the father did for the prodigal son. (See Luke 15) As the shepherd searching for the one sheep or the lady for one coin so God longs to bring us back to God’s love.
I am learning that God weeps and suffers with us. God has emotions. And don’t worry about God’s emotions getting the best of him. God can be trusted with those emotions. God suffers with us. That’s clear in Jesus. And in the Old Testament, we read from Isaiah 63:9, “In all their distress he (God) too was distressed,
and the angel of his presence saved them.
In his love and mercy he redeemed them;
he lifted them up and carried them
all the days of old.”
Now let’s go to 1Corinthians 13 and I am using the Voice version to give what I believe is an accurate interpretation of verse 12 “For now, we can only see a dim and blurry picture of things, as when we stare into polished metal. I realize that everything I know is only part of the big picture. But one day, when Jesus arrives, we will see clearly, face-to-face. In that day, I will fully know just as I have been wholly known by God.”
Paul is writing about the selfless nature of love for the community at Corinth and such love is so magnificent that we cannot understand it fully but one day we will when we see Jesus face to face. To me that incomprehensibility is clear. (I’ll give us all time to figure out that last sentence.) Paul wants the church to know that love is the essence of who we are as the Body of Christ.
More to come.
Grace and Peace