The So-What of Encountering God

Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and he said to him, “What do you command your servant, my Lord?” Joshua 5:14

Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. Matthew 13:16

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The waters of Puget Sound near Deception Pass | Whidbey Island, WA | December 2018

I’ve seen the Grand Canyon. Stunning. I’ve seen the Eiffel Tower. Elegant. I’ve seen the Great Rift Valley. Expansive. I’ve seen the Great Wall of China. Impressive. Each of these have been extraordinary experiences, and I’m grateful for having experienced them all. To some extent they’ve left an impression on me. But I’m not certain any of them are life-changing.

Perhaps the more life-changing sight was the starry skies in the middle of nowhere one crisp, cold, and clear night. Somehow that put many things into perspective for me. The sight of our children right after birth would rank high on the list of life-changing sights. So, too, the smile of my wife when I’ve come out of surgery. These things nourish my soul and have a lasting impact.

Highest of all, however, is the impact of experience of seeing God. Joshua fell on his face when he saw God. Isaiah encountered God and said, “Woe is me!” (Isaiah 6:5). Job said, My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5-6). The Bible says, “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known (John 1:18). So the encounters of Isaiah, Joshua, and Job must only brush up against the full experience of seeing God.

Each of these were propelled into God’s redemptive work all of which culminated in Jesus’ birth, life, suffering, death and resurrection, and will be consummated on the Great Last Day. Their encounter was part of a saga that continues to this day. 

Perhaps we gain a glimpse of God in the splendor of creation, the smile of a loved-one, or the elegant beauty of an unfolding flower. If we do, we should somehow be changed. It should make a difference. We have been blessed to see God’s work in creation and in our lives. That being so it ought to make a difference not only in that moment, but throughout our lives, and even through all eternity.

1 comment
  1. YES! Incredible glimpses of God: “the splendor of creation, the smile of a loved-one, or the elegant beauty of an unfolding flower.” Incredible life changing gifts!

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