Monday, August 13, 2007

"Getting" God

Have you ever started talking with someone and feel that almost instant connection - they mention a book or movie or something that they really enjoy and your first thought is, "Hey, I thought I was the only one who liked that!"

And you quickly realize that the two of you "get" each other and a bond of friendship is instantly formed.

And it doesn't have to be over something really deep or important.

For instance, when Bill Berger and I discovered we were both fans of Bruce Campbell, and that we both had a special appreciation for the movie "Bubba Ho-Tep" - well, that pretty much bonded us. I knew as we started quoting lines from that great movie about two senior citizens in a nursing home (Elvis and John F. Kennedy) fighting an Egyptian mummy in cowboy boots -- that Bill and I "got" each other.

And as we discussed the deeper cultural commentaries the movie made beyond the fun, irony, and adventure, well, that just strengthened the bond exponentially.

So, do you think God might be like that?

In 2 Chronicles 16:9, the prophet Hanani tells King Asa of Judah that

"the eyes of the LORD range throughout the entire earth, to strengthen those whose hearts are truly His."

Could we read that as God is looking for those who "get" Him?

You see, there's some interesting instances when God is recorded as speaking for Himself in scripture.

First, you have the creation account with God declaring his creation "good" and, in one instance, "very good."

Then you have God responding to Job in chapters 38 and 39 of that incredibly deep book. And let's take a look at that in context - I think we can all imagine a hypothetical situation where a husband is complaining to his wife because he felt she didn't take care of some minor thing (ironing a shirt or whatever) and the wife's response is something like,

"Do you have any idea what I've taken care of? After cooking breakfast for the entire family I took the kids to their appointments, took your stuff to the copy store for your big presentation, re-negotiated the mortgage with the bank to save us thousands of dollars, took care of the grocery shopping, cleaned the bathrooms, dusted and vacuumed the house, cooked dinner for you and the kids, helped the kids with their homework, stuffed the folders for you to hand out at your presentation tomorrow, and packed your lunch. Now, do you think you can iron your own shirt?!"

(again, purely hypothetical - I've never actually been part of a conversation like this myself.)

Now, what is the wife really saying in this scenario? Isn't she saying, "gee, it would really be nice if you noticed what I have done around here"?

That's kind of what I see with this section of Job - in the midst of God "putting Job in his place" there's this under-current of "hey, look at what I've done - can't you appreciate how fast the wild donkey is, or how powerful an ox is… or how about that stupid ostrich? It doesn't have a bit of sense, but isn't it awesome to watch it run with its wings outspread? How about the horse and the hawk - aren't they just the coolest things ever?"

Do you get the feeling that God is looking for people who can look at His creation and say, "Yea, that's pretty cool!"

Maybe this is why David is referred to as a man after God's own heart - I can't even count the number of times he refers to God's character and creation throughout his writings. Could it be that God saw this young shepherd boy who "got" Him? Not only did David "get" God, he was able to express an appreciation for what God created and how God works.

Imagine for a moment how God might respond to someone who is able to look at creation and say, "Wow, this is really cool!"

Think about how God might delight when an individual learns a little more about the universe in which we live, about the way stars are formed and planets are shaped and the incredible timing of comets that come streaking through the solar system on a set schedule, and that person recognizes how awesome that is.

Contemplate for a moment how God might look at someone who is peering into a microscope and discovering the intricate ways that cells interact and that person is struck with wonder.

Let's take it a step further.

I wonder if the God who is searching for those whose hearts are truly His might be looking for a person who is looking at a group of people and saying, "wow, that person's smile is incredible - it really lights up a room. And that man's commitment to detail, I could never have the patience to build the kinds of models he builds - that's pretty neat. And that kid that always seems to get into trouble, I just had a conversation with him and he's actually got some interesting ideas, I think there's something special there."

Is it possible that in trying to look at things from a different perspective, we might catch God's attention and He'll respond with, "hey, I was waiting for someone else to notice that, let me show you some other neat stuff."

If there's even a hint of truth in these musings, I hope we all get a chance to somehow "get" God.

P.S. Bill Berger agreed to let me use his name in this posting -- Bill's currently battling cancer, please keep him in your thoughts and prayers.

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