OUR KNOWABLE GOD
Learning How to Relate to Our Invisible Lord
by Rose Noland©
Is it truly possible to have a close relationship with the Creator of the universe? YES! God wants us to know Him intimately, as He says repeatedly in the Scriptures. All through history God has pursued a relationship with mankind, both corporately and individually. Let me tell you the story of how God pursued me….
Meeting Jesus was only the beginning of my relationship with Him, not just an event. I floundered for six or seven years, trying to get to know this wonderful God who saved me, but He still seemed distant to me. He was just someone big and powerful up there—somewhere. I often had doubts about my salvation and thought perhaps I was just fooling myself about heaven and this God who says He loves me. But God knew my doubts….
Now, that’s my story, but anyone can have an intimate relationship with God…. Ordinary people from all walks of life…can have a deep, vibrant relationship with the God of the universe!
This book is about helping you accomplish just that. It is about how my God drew me to Himself; and what I’ve learned from the Master Teacher about how to connect with Him…. My prayer is that this book will guide you as you endeavor to discover the truths about God for yourself, and stimulate your mind to deeply ponder the vastness of our magnificent God and the way to bond with Him.
I’ve also written this book because there are many people who don’t even know what comprises a good relationship…. Many folks… haven’t got a clue what makes a good relationship, let alone thinking that they could have one.
I pray that you will accept His invitation to not only enter the most beautiful love relationship possible, but also to develop and nurture it into a vibrant growing oneness with God.
RELATING TO A SPIRITUAL BEING
God is a being, not a force or thing. He made us in His image and for relationship—relationship with Himself and with others (Gen 1:26; Gen 2:18). But how in the world—a physical, tangible one— do we relate to Someone we cannot see, hear, or touch? Well, live in this physical world, why not look at what a relationship entails with someone that we can see, hear, and touch? That is, human relationships. Even Jesus Himself depicted our relationship with God in human ways: a father with his child, a teacher with his student, a master with his servant, and a bride and groom….
EACH HUMAN RELATIONSHIP IS UNIQUE
Each of us will relate to God in a unique fashion. Our personalities, abilities, passions, needs, experiences, and circumstances are all different. Therefore, despite the basic similarities, we each bring something unique to a relationship….
I can’t help but wonder if God created us each uniquely so that He would derive a special pleasure from each of His children. Consider a collector of paintings. No two paintings are alike. Each one is special and brings a different delight to the viewer. Now imagine that the collector is also the painter, who is masterfully and meticulously perfecting each piece of art. That’s our God! I take great comfort in knowing that I am special to Him. I have struggled greatly most of my life with a poor self-image…. I thank my God often that He taught me that although I may not be worthy, I am not worthless!
Desiring a growing relationship with God is only the first step in developing one. A good relationship is not automatic…. One has to be purposeful in developing, maintaining, and improving relationships.…
Now God not only wants a relationship with us, but He wants one that is growing and vibrant. And just as God took the first step in pursuing us (Jn 6:44), He also continues to pursue us in the relationship. However, as in human relationships, one can only go so far without the other’s response; it will either move toward a closer relationship or away from one. In the same way, God doesn’t force us to walk closely with Him, but He will bring circumstances and people into our lives to woo us to Himself….
So are you willing to seek after Him? If you are, get ready, because He promises you will find Him (Jer 29:13-14)!
COMMUNICATING WITH EACH OTHER
How can we listen and hear God since He doesn’t speak audibly to us? To begin, we need to ask ourselves the question, “Are we really listening or are we like the nation of Israel?”
“You have seen many things, but have paid no attention; your ears are open, but you hear nothing.” (Is 42:20)
Is the extent of our communication with God telling Him what we want and then expecting Him to immediately answer “yes” and in a way that is blatantly obvious? Sometimes God does answer quickly and obviously, but not always. Why? Because He isn’t our cosmic genie waiting to grant our every desire! He is like a good father who doesn’t spoil his children with everything they want, but gives them only what is beneficial. God wants to be in relationship with us, not to be our vending machine.
You may be wondering whether it is really possible to hear His “voice.” The answer is yes. As mentioned under God’s part on speaking, our Lord does communicate with His people and He does so clearly. So what’s the problem then? If God hears my prayer, then why doesn’t He answer? I believe much of the problem lies in the following things:
- Our lack of understanding about how God speaks–through His Word, prayer, His people (the church), and circumstances
- The inability to recognize His voice and to distinguish it from our own, the world, or Satan
- Unconfessed sin and living in disobedience (Ps 66:18; Zec 7:13)
- Asking with an improper attitude towards our holy God (prideful) (Is 66:2-4)
- Asking with wrong motives (Jas 4:3)
- Having wrong expectations
Jesus tells us in John 10:1-16 that His sheep do recognize His voice and they follow Him. So then, it is a matter of learning how to listen and to do so with the right heart attitude.
HOW TO LISTEN AND RECOGNIZE GOD’S VOICE
First I must say that recognizing God’s voice has been a longing in my heart for a very long time. I also have to say I have not arrived, but I have come a long way. What I have learned is that it takes diligence and a great desire, but it is invariably worth the effort. Effective communications with humans is difficult—just ask husbands if they understand their wives—how much more so with our transcendent God? Just as in relationships with people, there is no coasting….
Copyright © 2012 Rose Noland All Rights Reserved