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“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.” Langston Hughes

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the difference between understanding God and knowing God.

I think it’s important we try, within reason, to understand God. While we can never fully get our minds around his power, love, grace or holiness, it is undoubtedly helpful in our relationships with him to grapple with these facets of who he is.

After all, many people over the years have helped other Christians by developing their understanding of God.

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But more so, I think sometimes we (and by we you can definitely read I) worry too much about understanding God and don’t spend enough time simply knowing him. I may not fully grasp God’s love for me, but I can fully experience it. I may not completely comprehend how great the gift of grace is, but I can embrace it and live my life in it.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying we should never try to understand God. There’s a definite time and place for such thinking.

But I believe understanding God alone will not transform us, will not turn our lives upside down for his Kingdom and fill us with the peace that God offers.

Only knowing God can do that.

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“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart…live in the question.” Rainer Maria Rilke

Over-complicating God

September 12, 2012 — Leave a comment

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

God is pretty complex. There’s a lot to him. After all, he made the universe and everything in it, knows the numbers of hairs on each of our heads, and knows what has been, what is, and what will be.

The Trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit exists in perfect harmony, is the same but different.

Frankly, I don’t really get it.

I did a theology degree, and took modules in how to understand God, and I still don’t.

Sometimes, this frustrates me. I want to be able to logically formulate why God loves me, and why he forgives me. I want to find some theologians who back me up, academics who I can name-drop when I need to. I don’t know if it’s because I sometimes find it hard to fathom God’s love, but I find myself trying to produce a formula to prove it.

God = creator. Jesus = creator’s son. Spirit = creator’s presence on earth now. (I’ve probably said some heresies already). God loves us. You. Me. Jesus died for us. The Spirit came for us. God + love + Jesus + his death + coming of the Spirit = salvation.

That’s not even close.

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I think I spend too much time trying to explain and understand God, and not enough time enjoying him and loving him.

There’s no doubt there is a time and a place for trying to understand God, for theology and exegesis and picking apart the story of Jesus.

Ultimately, however, I think God wants us to love him. Wants us to believe his promises, to trust him, to shelter in his grace.

Sometimes, it’s that simple. The life we get in return isn’t always easy or straightforward. More often than not, it’s the opposite.

But through it all, God reminds us of his love, and longs for us to love him with all we have.

His message to me, and to all of us, is simple.

I have done, and will do, anything for you. You are my child. Take shelter in me. I love you.

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“No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this, never so much as imagined anything quite like it – what God has arranged for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9, The Message