A young girl was drawing a picture when a teacher leaned over her shoulder and asked what she was drawing. “God” was the reply. “No one knows what God looks like” said the teacher. “They will in a minute” replied the girl.

You may be familiar with that story. More than being a humorous story it captures the innocence of a child who wants to see God and an adult who can’t. The contrast is sobering when I realise the truth behind it and how familiar the analogy is.

Too often I am like the adult who has preconceived ideas as to who God is or isn’t and therefore miss seeing Him in the moment. Just like the young girl Jesus calls us into meeting God for the first time again. To dive in and know Him in the “now”.

Meeting God “Now”

As a pastor I help others get to know God. The problem is knowing God is not a learnt thing. It’s a real time revelation that comes by Gods spirit.

That may seem complicated for some, but in essence it really means that knowing God is not the same as knowing information (which is all based on memory). He’s an up-to-date experience. Knowing God requires meeting God today.

When I get up to preach I am aware that information is not the goal, people meeting God is. Everything I aim for is to connect a person to God (whether they realise it or not). Sometimes people cry, sometimes laugh, my favourite is seeing relief sweep over people as weights fall from their shoulders. He came to set the captives free right?

People thank me for encouraging them, for teaching them and even uplifting them. This excites me because what they are really saying is that they just met Jesus, yet often they haven’t learnt to recognise Him.

For them any feeling of encouragement is related to some information they just learnt.

Meeting God Is For Saints?

Several years ago I met a gay man on the way to visit his partner. He was driving past me as I was out for a prayer stroll. He wound down his windows and asked for directions. His destination was a long way off and so having nothing better to do I offered to be his passenger and direct him.

As we drove he told me about his life and asked about mine. He was shocked (almost scared) when he heard I was a pastor. After a while he relaxed and we had a good chat.

When we eventually reached his partners location I insisted he let me out but he wouldn’t. He wanted to keep talking to me and so offered to drive me back home. I wanted to bless him before I said goodbye so I asked if I could pray and he said yes.

When I finally said goodbye he had a huge smile and said “you have got to be the nicest pastor I have ever met, thanks.”

He just met Jesus, he just didn’t know it.

His preconceived ideas, of who God is, were shattered as he wound up meeting God (possibly for the first time ever). He went from being like the teacher in our story, to the little girl (not literally of course). He threw away all he knew and enjoyed meeting God in that particular moment.

His lifestyle, his past, his embarrassment before a pastor, everything went out the window as he met Jesus for the first time. Do you get how significant that is? It’s significant because we are terrible at doing that.

Why Meeting God Is Hard For Christians

Often we hold onto shame, failure, bad self-image, disappointments and how bad & sinful we are. Or we remember how God used to appear to us and imagine our encounter to be the same. As a result we can’t see God.

We become like the teacher who lives based on past information. We have every excuse and reason as to why people (ourselves included) can’t see God. It’s because… sin… problems… (name the shame). Meeting God is reserved for pastors right? For those who can see clearly?

If we become like little children, letting go of everything, we can see Him in the now. We can meet Him in the now. This is the message of Christianity.

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

John 17:3

If you are part of a church I encourage you to turn up on Sunday morning like my gay friend. Willing to let every idea of who God is go (good and bad) and meet Him again for the first time.

If you have never met Jesus, maybe you just did and didn’t recognise Him?

 

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