how can I relate to God?
Today someone asked me who created God... and although I knew there was no easy answer to such a question, I did give myself a decent headache trying to think back and comprehend what it would've been like if God ever didn't exist.
Who created God?
There are certain topics and certain moments in my life when my curiosity really gets the best of me. Something that really threw me through a loop as a young student was the concept of colors. Think about it. You can't ever imagine a color that doesn't already exist. You can't picture a hue or a shade that isn't some sort of variation of red, blue, or yellow. That drives me absolutely crazy! When these sorts of thoughts come to our minds, it can be challenging to understand what to do with them. When it comes to the story of God's "life" it can be extremely daunting and confusing to try and piece it all together in something that makes sense to us as humans.
Here are a few texts I dug up about who God is:
"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
"For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him."- Colossians 1:16
"Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength."
- Isaiah 40: 28-29
In these verses, we are given a taste of who God is. Here in the Bible, we are told that God has always been and always will be. For creatures like us who are lucky if we reach our hundredth birthday... this just doesn't compute. We have other scriptures that reveal an explanation of the Trinity, the Godhead three in one. If you weren't already feeling in over your head trying to understand God, attempting to fully comprehend the Trinity will likely push you over the edge!
There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three coeternal Persons. God is immortal, all-powerful, all-knowing, above all, and ever-present. He is infinite and beyond human comprehension, yet known through His self-revelation. God, who is love, is forever worthy of worship, adoration, and service by the whole creation. (Gen. 1:26; Deut. 6:4; Isa. 6:8; Matt. 28:19; John 3:16 2 Cor. 1:21, 22; 13:14; Eph. 4:4-6; 1 Peter 1:2.)
Once we have grasped a basic understanding of all of this, the root of our concern arises: How do I relate to such a superior being?
How can I be expected to be vulnerable, open, and honest about all my mistakes and shortcomings with someone who has the capabilities to snuff me out at any moment? How could such a powerful entity ever even begin to relate to me? Yet despite such feelings of inadequacy, those of us who believe God is real and evident in the world desperately want to know who God is and have a deeper relationship with him. Yet, for many people in the world, a belief in God isn't an option because they have a misconception about who God is and what he is like. Even in the Christian community, it is not uncommon for me to hear, read, or feel that I cannot connect with God in the way I want to.
When I was a little kid, I used to wake up in the middle of the night after a nightmare. Feeling overwhelmed with fear, I would silently cry and whisper into the darkness, "God can you show me you? I want to feel safe." It was such an earnest, sincere little prayer, yet as I squinted into the darkness hoping to catch a glimpse of light, I saw nothing but blackness. It can be the same experience for us today. We get so tired of trying... squinting into our daily lives desperate to find some tangible evidence of God speaking to us. Pleading with God to reveal to us something that we can relate to in regards to him. How do we overcome such frustration?
I believe, as with everything we want to know about spiritual matters, that the answer is in the Bible. The most telling Bible verse we could ever read or memorize to better understand God, is written in 1 John 4:7-21:
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this, the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
Here lies the secret to understanding God. God is love. It is a concept we have drilled into our minds since birth and yet somehow we miss the significance of it. Everything about God is centered on love and carried out with justice and mercy.
I have written on this before, but I will briefly mention that as I have studied the Bible I have discovered that it is essentially God's diary. The sooner we are able to recognize that God also demonstrates emotion, feeling, and care throughout history, the more likely it is that we will be able to view him as someone relatable. Society has done us a huge disservice by painting an image of a God who is wrathful, controlling, and even manipulative. The opposite is true. It is not God's desire for us to be mere pons in his game of fun. God desired companionship, and so he made us.
Can you imagine what it would be like to create your own friend? I remember telling my parents I wanted a little sister (although that never happened. Sigh.). When I came up with the idea of needing another sibling, I had several things in mind for her personality. I wanted her to enjoy playing barbies as I did. I wanted her to go swimming with me in the pool. I wanted her to help me braid my hair. If we had the ability to make ourselves a companion, we would design someone similar to us. We would place in that person similar interests and desires. This is what God has done when he made us.
By evaluating our own deepest dreams and aspirations, we can learn more about the God who created us. Don't get me wrong- I am not advocating for some of the modern new-age concepts I see coming up today that imply God is "in" us and justify us doing anything we feel like doing. Instead, I am claiming the verse in Genesis 1:27 that plainly states we were made in God's image.
So much of our understanding of God and how he acts and feels can be seen in the character of Jesus Christ. We must remember that Jesus is indeed a part of the Trinity. All three aspects of God work together for our good and if we ask him, God will reveal more and more of himself to us throughout our lives. It is not something that we can ever "achieve" or "conquer" or even master. There are many things about God that will continue to remain a mystery- but it is possible to feel loved, connected, and noticed by God.
This week I encourage you to find ways to embrace the human aspects of God's character. Write God a letter, talk to God out loud, look at an animal, its and contemplate why God designed it's fur pattern like that. Do whatever it takes to break down the barriers the world has previously told you exist between a loving God and your heart.
God is not a man
God is not a white man
God is not a man sitting on a cloud.
... God is love.