Sometimes I think I know who God is
I see His justice and I say to myself, 'Ah yes, He is just. I know my God'. In an attempt to be like Him I look at life and I start to find ways to incorporate justice into my dealings with other people. It doesn't take long before I am reminded of His mercy, and His grace.
I start to realise I have been too harsh in my pursuit of justice. 'Ah, now I know my God. He is merciful, and gracious'. Then I start to turn a blind eye when I see sin reigning in the life of a fellow brother in Christ.
Soon I am convicted to act—in love—to correct the sin which is eroding my brother's faith. Then I am struck by His holiness, and His righteousness and I think, 'Ah, but now surely, I truly do know my God'.
I endeavour to live a holy and righteous life
Before too long I've begun to judge those around me whom I deem to be less holy and righteous than me. Conviction grips my spirit, and I realise I am not walking in love. Then I realise He is love.
Sometimes I think I know who God is.I think of Him in deep worship and I start to wonder what He looks like. I see eyes that are glowing with love, and a face that shines brightly like the sun.
I open His word, and read of His glory in the books of the prophets; surrounded by barely describable creatures, completely otherworldly. I read of billows of clouds and smoke rolling under His feet, and consuming fire pouring out of His mouth, and I realise I don't know Him.
Sometimes times I meditate on Him
I look to one side and see stars, solar systems and galaxies in the night sky, gleaming over a lake of purest water. To the other side I see a glorious sunrise, a marmalade sky.
There are doves flying north towards the horizon, and I picture a throne I cannot see through the light. Light that ought to blind me, and yet is painless to look at. In the midst of it all, He is sitting under a humble tree on a lone hilltop, with the breeze in His face.
I find comfort and a sense of awe and worship in this vision of heaven, and then I open His word to see Him surrounded by the thrones of kings, bowing down in worship before Him.
I read of His appearance being like that of jaspers and rubies, with peels of thunder and lightning rumbling and spilling forth from His throne, and I think to myself, 'If I were to stand in the presence of this God being described to me, what would I say?' Surely I would fall to the ground, speechless and utterly undone by holy fear and purest worship. Then I realise I am blind to the reality of prayer and worship.
Sometimes I think I know who He is
I hear the preacher say He died for us on the cross, and I think to myself, 'Oh, how lofty and delicate He would have been'. I see a supernatural waif stuck to a cross and I start to become desensitised to my own sin.
Then I open His word, and I see He was disfigured beyond all recognition, bloody and torn; hanging from nails in blood; naked and shamed, humiliated. I remember that I was guilty, and He was innocent, and my sin comes back into sharp clarity. I fall to my knees in repentance, and I realise I don't know Him at all.
Sometimes I think I know who He is. Then He washes my feet, and again I am stunned. He is too glorious, too mysterious, and too complex for me to understand.
One thing will never change
I am full of love and I am unworthy. I do not completely know Him, and I cannot be like Him so long as I try.
He has to do it, He has to take me there, He has to shift and change my heart. He has to lead my spirit, He has to challenge my mind, and He has to be my strength. I have to remember that, even in a lifetime, even for eternity, I will never fully understand Him.
I am excited because there will never be a point in time when I do not have the joy of discovering something about Him. There is always a new depth. His grace is boundless; His love, limitless. I could swim for millennia, and drown for eternity. I long for that day.
Benjamin James is 24 years old and madly in love with Jesus! He is a youth worker and also currently studying a Bachelor of Christian Studies at Melbourne School of Theology. He is passionate and opinionated and will take every opportunity to see positive change in the world.
Benjamin James' previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/benjamin-james.html