The way we meet God seems backwards to me.
We are introduced to God through someone else. It’s amazing that God trusts this introduction to us, especially when we are so likely to misrepresent Him. It’s really an important introduction.
Our introduction to God is important because the way we view God and the way we think He views us are important. What we believe about these two questions influence our life: “How do I view God?” and “How does God view me?” Our answer to these questions determine our reaction to God’s words of “I am with you.”
I know people who are convinced God is out to get them. I know others who keep God at a distance because they are sure He looks at them with a disappointed frown. These people might say that God is good, loving, and forgiving, but their life shows what they deep-down, really believe. They don’t draw comfort from God’s words of “I am with you” because they don’t believe that God is for them.
I don’t remember my very first introduction to God. I remember the Gideons coming to our school and handing out New Testaments, I remember going to church with my grandmothers when I was younger, and I remember Sunday School at their churches. I remember going to retreats and lock-ins with my friends at their churches. My mother took us to church when I was in middle school, which was the first taste I had of being part of a community. I have no doubt that the seed of faith was planted and watered in the midst of all of these memories. And I am sure that these experiences played a part in me seeking out a relationship with God when I was in the ninth grade.
But the most in-depth, real-life conversations I had about God was with my tennis partner, Nona. I was a new believer, hungry to know God, and Nona spent time talking with me, answering my questions, and pointing me back to Him. (Just in case you don’t remember high school, there are LOTS of things happening that can make you question God’s presence, His care, His involvement in our every-day circumstances. AP Biology is only one of those things.)
We talked after tennis practice, often until dark, and the sunsets over the cotton and soybean fields were spectacular. I realize that the sun sets every night, but it felt like God painted sunsets with especially vibrant colors on the nights we sat on the tennis courts talking about Him. It felt like He painted them just for us.
I am so thankful for the way I was introduced to God. Since then, there have been other people in my life who have presented God’s holiness in a way that communicated Him as stern and distant. They focused on our sinfulness and unworthiness without mentioning the abundance of His lavish love or the bridge of His amazing, life-giving grace. I realize now that this slant probably had more to do with their view of God and their life-story, but it made an impact on me as a new believer.
God gives us the great privilege of introducing others to Him. The best introduction points them to His Word, because that is the place where who God is can be clearly seen. He is holy, and we are sinful. That is true. He is also relentless in His love for us and in His mercy toward us. His Word is more than a book. It is God’s words of this is who I am, this is how much I love you, and this is what I’ve made you for.
We find life in the pages of His Word because we find Him.