“…no matter what God’s power may be, the first aspect of God is never that of absolute Master, the Almighty. It is that of a God who puts himself on our human level and limits himself.” Jacques Ellul As I sat down and began to take a look at the things God has been teaching me and doing in the last month this quote kept coming into my head. I first encountered it while reading The Shack and it's stuck with me ever since. I'm not quite sure why it feels so important to what I'm about to write, but.. I've always found myself nodding when I read it.
Yesterday fifty or more of us spent 6 hours learning about practical and amazing ways to get into the word and get the word into us. 6 hours of the mind-blowingly knowledgeable David Hamilton. It was incredible, and while I can say I walked away with a greater understanding and excitement to experience the story I also came away with another revelation: that of identity, testimony and a relational God.
I know. God is relational. I get that, but thinking about how he relates is a different story. He speaks in ways that are specific to us - specific to me, in ways that he knows I will understand and enjoy. He speaks and relates to me where I'm at using things that I can grasp. He "puts himself on our human level and limits himself" that I may come to greater understanding and sink deeper in the knowledge of who he is.
"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want." (psalm 23:1) David was a shepherd. Of course he would relate to the Lord as his shepherd. The Lord speaks to Moses and says, "..The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness," (exodus 34:6) Slow to anger. He used that language because anger was a character flaw in Moses..
God relates to us where we are at and according to how he wired us. God speaks to me in images, themes and power words. He uses my ache for beauty and adventure to woo my heart. My love for writing and the arts to speak directly to my soul. He speaks of wild things and freedom. Of ships and pirates and warriors and danger - Themes of overcoming and heroism (the great rescue!). But I'm a whimsical person to the very core of my being. I don't expect he relates to a physics teacher that way, or a mechanic, or.. a shepherd. The more I thought about it the more I realized that this is why testimony is so powerful and important. These themes and things that stir my soul are things that are specific to my story, and while I may not, naturally, identify God as my shepherd I can definitely assimilate.
It reveals and opens up a whole new facet of God's character, something I may not have realized or recognized before that moment - but something that I can now explore deeper.
So beautiful. I love that God is a storyteller. I love that he is a hero, a rescuer, a savior, a warrior. I love that he takes on a completely special and specific identity for me.
& that he does the same for you.