by Steve Kearns
As I have walked these past 36 years as a Christian I have often had the question run through my mind: How do I know God? Ps. 46:10 says: “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
Years ago I asked Pastor Dale Swanson, how can I know God more? His answer left me a bit confused at the time. He said that he would take his Bible and go up into the mountains and meet with God there. He said at those times he felt closest to God. I guess when I think about it, that would be exalting God in His creation. I have tried Dale’s advice many times.
I have sat high atop a mountain looking down on a beautiful lake that God created and thought, Okay, I see God’s handiwork, and I know Him through it but, is this really knowing God?
I love the ocean and have sat for hours in quiet solitude enjoying it but, is this really knowing God?
Ps. 42:2 says: “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?”
I had a real desire to meet with God and know Him in a more personal way than just enjoying His creation, but I wasn’t finding how to do that. My thoughts kept going back to the command to “be still.” Then one day it hit me: I don’t have to be in the mountains or at the ocean I just have to “be still.” What does that look like? For me, it is sitting at my dining room table with God’s Word open in front of me, with all outside distractions put aside and just listening to what God is saying to me from His Word. The Bible is full of picture stories showing us who God is, what He wants for His own, how much He loves us, and all He has done for us. To really know Him I had to “be still” and let Him speak to me from His Word.
For me I have read and re-read Scripture for years, but until I was able to close out the outside things that occupy my mind I was not able to fully understand what I was reading. Spending time in God’s Word is always preceded with prayer that God would clear my thoughts so I can communicate with Him unimpeded.
So can I, like Pastor Dale, take my Bible and sit in front of God with beauty like this to enjoy? Well, yes; but for me I think I would really struggle with keeping my focus on His Word and not on His creation. But I believe that, for me, God wants me to keep the two separate. I love gazing upon His beauty through the Word, and through creation. I am able to meet with God both ways. One is for knowing all about Him, and the other is for enjoying His blessings to all of us.