Who is God’ and What is He like?
In my last post I talked more about journaling–especially about keeping a Spiritual Journal–a record of my responses to God’s word, and my prayers. A Journal, as I pointed out, can be helpful in gaining understanding and insights along the way in our journey with God. This happens on so many different levels. One of those levels is deepening my understanding of ‘who is God‘ and ‘what is He like’?
Today I want to illustrate for you a brief idea of ‘what God is like’ by quoting to you from an old journal entry of mine. Back in October 2009–I was in Nepal for about 3 weeks. I traveled to three cities during that trip, but one of my favorite cities was Pokhara–a smaller town in the central region of Nepal.
A characteristic about Pokhara that I love is this: from nearly any vantage point in the city one can view the magnificent Annapurna Mountain range .
Mount Fishtail, (the English name for what the locals say, ‘Machapuchare’ ) looms 22,943 feet ( 6,993m) above the city, snow-capped year around–a silent declaration of God’s creative power and majesty. The Nepali believe Machapuchare is a sacred mountain, and is dedicated to the Hindu god, Shiva. Deeply revered, it is off limits to climbing. Standing out in stark, rugged contrast against the cerulean sky, it is not unusual to see happy tourists snapping shots of this view all day long–that is when it is not obscured by clouds.
I was in Pokhara that October, on a mission trip–holding a mini-conference ‘s with a selection of Pastor’s wives in the region. The little hotel/bed & breakfast I was staying in had a charming breakfast seating area outdoors–and guess what my view was???? If my chair was facing the mountain view–Machapuchare was looming above me. I loved it! (I have so many pictures of that trip–that mountain!) Here is my journal entry:
October 25, 2009–New Winds Hotel
“Today is my last day in Pokhara: I’m all packed and ready for my flight back to Kathmandu. This morning, I sit in my usual place for a late breakfast. I look up, as usual, to feast my eyes on the magnificent view of Mount Fishtail–my last look until I return to this charming city. I’m sad. Mist and clouds are hanging low and dense over the nearby foothills. At first I wonder if I’m sitting in the wrong spot, and as I look around, I realize that–no--I’m in my spot! But where is the mountain? It is totally gone! I can only see a misty foreground of shapes, trees and housetops. It is as though there is no mountain. I hope the clouds go before I do!
As I read my Bible, I mused about this. My ladies and I have been studying about God and His character all week. What we learned might have been new for them, but it was truth that has stood the test of time. God’s attributes are unchanging!
What is the parallel here? What truth revealed?
Back to the mountain.
If I had not known that there was a mighty mountain range towering above the densely forested hills nearest me, I would never have suspected that there also stood the the majestic Mount Fishtail–king among the others–but totally hidden by the clouds that dominate the horizon. How could I? I cannot see it! I can only see that which is nearest to me. Foolish woman, I chuckle! All the locals know there is a mountain there–you just have to wait till the clouds go away. It’s always there. A Mountain can’t move. It’s ‘unchanging’.
As I reflect on that fact, this thought comes to me:
God is ever-present, all-powerful, unchanging, eternal and much, much more! Yet the clouds of my circumstances hide Him and His character from me–making him appear invisible –or perhaps (to me) not there at all.
(I smile at this!)
As I pen these words I look up to the place where I saw Fishtail yesterday. Yeah! The clouds have moved some and now I can see the very tip of the mountain–but the clouds still hide parts of it. My heart soars with joy because this truth is unfolding right before my very eyes.!
As the the clouds drift, the mountain top emerges–stark–rugged–unchanging! I did have to change the focus of my view–didn’t I? I had to move my gaze from my journal to the horizon, then from there to the sky–where the mountain is (not was)!
Even though I cannot always see Him–He is nonetheless there!
Parallel? His character is a little like the view I had of Mt. Fishtail–stark in contrast to the world around me; unchanging–eternal. Sometimes obscured by the world and events happening there–at times, we wonder, ‘Does God exists at all?’
Even though I cannot always see Him, hear Him, feel Him–He is nonetheless there! His ‘bigness’ may be obscured by the clouds surrounding my circumstances–but that doesn’t mean He has left the scene. He is immutable–unchanging! God doesn’t move!
Lasting truth: Even when I cannot see Him, He is there. I can see evidence of His presence in the world around me if I know what to look for–where to look.”
My journal entry ends there. But a few questions linger. What would your answers to these questions be? How about jotting them down in your Spiritual Journal. What other verses from Scripture come to mind to strengthen this concept?
1. What is hiding God and His character from YOU today? (What circumstances are clouding your understanding of Him and His presence in your life?)
2. What life lessons have you learned that have encouraged you in your walk with God?
Send me your thoughts in the comment box! I’d love to dialogue with you on this topic.
Blessings on your Monday.