Finally, the answer to “What Religion is Diane Noble?” well, sort of…
November 09th, 2010
Radical faith journey?
I’ve been rereading a favorite book, Knowing God by J.I. Packer. Years ago I highlighted a section that still blesses me clear down to my socks every time I read it. Here’s just a portion:
“What matters supremely, therefore, is not, in the last analysis, the fact that I know God, but the larger fact which underlies it — the fact that He knows me. I am graven on the palms of His hands. I am never out of His mind. All my knowledge of Him depends on His sustained initiative in knowing me. I know Him, because He first knew me, and continues to know me. He knows me as a friend, one who loves me, and there is no moment when His eye is off me, or His attention distracted from me, and no moment therefore, when His care falters.
“This is momentous knowledge. There is unspeakable comfort — the sort of comfort that energizes, be it said, not enervates — in knowing that God is constantly taking knowledge of me in love, and watching over me for my good. There is tremendous relief in knowing that His love to me is utterly realistic, based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery now can disillusion him about me, in the way I am so often disillusioned about myself, and quench his determination to bless me. There is, certainly , great cause for humility in the thought that He sees all the twisted things about me that my fellow-men do not see (and am I glad!), and that He sees more corruption in me than that which I see in myself (which in all conscience, is enough).
“There is, however, equally great incentive to worship and love God in the thought that, for some unfathomable reason, He wants me as His friend, and desires to be my friend, and has given His Son to die for me in order to realize this purpose.”
(Diane again) Amen! What incentive to worship, praise, and adore our God! Consider these verses and be blessed all over again . . .
So the Lord said to Moses . . .
you have found grace in my sight,
and I know you by name.
Exodus 33:17 NKJV
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
before you were born I sanctified you.
Jeremiah 33:5 NKJV
I am the good shepherd and I know my sheep
and am known by my own.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them,
and they follow me.
John 10: 14, 27
A thought to tuck in your heart this day: I know Him, because He first knew me, and continues to know me. He knows me as a friend, one who loves me, and there is no moment when His eye is off me, or His attention distracted from me, and no moment therefore, when His care falters.
Have you ever considered what it means to be loved unconditionally?
Many of us grow up in families, or have life experiences as adults, that give us false images of God. If we were raised by rigid (even religious) parents, we may see Him as the giant law enforcement officer in the sky ready to zap us at the first indication of us straying from a list of rights and wrongs. If we were raised by busy parents who were more interested in their careers than in parenting, we may think of Him as indifferent. Yeah, on some level He knows about us and watches us in our struggles with a bit of distraction but, after all, He’s got a whole lot more important things to do and more important people to watch. We might think, because of our own parents’ difficulties being all they should have been to us, that we are unloved. Even verses such as Isaiah 66:13 fail to move us:
As a mother comforts her child,
so will I comfort you …
What about those of us who were rejected by our parents? Perhaps we were given over to foster homes and have never gotten past the fact that we weren’t wanted. It doesn’t matter that our parent or parents were unable to care for us because of mental illness, or youth, or even divorce when one parent also leaves the child when leaving his or her spouse. It doesn’t matter, because the sense of rejection is acute and real. We carry those deep scars with us for a lifetime. They influence our choices, sometimes deadly choices, as we try to deaden the pain of rejection.
How can we begin to imagine a God who will never leave us, never forsake us?
God is perfect. He is without flaw, without “shadow of turning.” We are told again and again throughout Scripture that He loves us with unconditional love. He bestows on us incredible mercy, grace, forgiveness, and amazing, all-encompassing, lavish love. He sent His Son to die an agonizing death on the cross to show us that love firsthand and to bring us to Himself, wrapping us in His huge arms of healing grace and unending compassion.
Radical faith journey?
Well, there’s still more to come, but my own faith journey — that which combines God’s gift of salvation, mercy, and love — incorporating it into everything I am, or more accurately, everything I hope to be in Him, that is what caused a radical turn.
With all love, joy, and peace …