I was almost frozen sitting on the doctor’s examination table, with fear running through my veins. I had what seemed to be a growing lump in my throat. It was making it difficult to swallow. I had brought myself to the doctor under the conclusion that there must be something seriously wrong. As I waited, all sorts of dreadful possibilities flew through my mind. By the time the doctor opened the door, I had examined the various culprits and had come to the point of convincing myself that I would just trust God, no matter what it was. This medical issue was coming at the end of a long line of difficult circumstances, and I was frustrated, not wanting to deal with yet another special delivery full of bad news.
“Globus Sensation” was the diagnosis presented after the doctor finished examining my throat ~ the sensation of a lump in the throat. The sensation, as in there was nothing really in my throat at all? “Seriously, this feeling that I am going to choke is all in my head!?” As the doctor was telling me I needed to relax, all I could think was that this was proof I had officially fallen off my rocker and was losing my mind.
By the world’s standards, I had good reason to feel anxious. This fearful lump in my throat could easily be justified by taking a quick look over all that had happened to me in the previous couple of months. But I am not of this world, I am a daughter of the King and this shouldn’t happen with Christians! Or so I thought; although, what I really meant was, this shouldn’t be happening to me! I went back to thinking, with all the determination I could muster, that I would just trust God and walked out of the doctor’s office with thoughts of, “Be anxious about nothing…”
(Phil. 4:6) running through my head.
Be anxious about nothing? Who was I kidding? Life had dealt me some hard blows and I was terrified. Terrified about my situation, and now terrified that I might be going crazy. I was anxious about EVERYTHING!
Today, I look back on that day in the doctor’s office with the eyes of a woman who is no longer that fearful girl panicking at the sight of trouble on the horizon. I do not make light of struggles with anxiety and mental illness. I know that battle all too well. That girl I used to be naively believed that in becoming a Christian, she would somehow be excluded from ever again being among the ranks of people suffering the debilitating effects of panic and depression.
On that particular day, the doctor’s assessment was wrong. What I was suffering from was not an anxiety that some relaxation would cure. What troubled me was a much deeper ailment: I did not really know my God.
“Knowing God” is such an elusive concept. Our God is incomprehensible! He is infinite and so far beyond our ability to reason that we can never fully know Him. That is part of the mystery of God and the beauty of his Word. Theologians and scholars can study and debate about the things of our faith for centuries and never come to the end of them; yet at the same time, the Gospel message is simple enough for a small child to understand. The love of our Saviour is so tangible, yet impossible to grasp. He is known, yet so completely unknowable.
A.W Tozer once said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” Why would he consider this the most important thing?
Who we believe God to be affects everything we do and think about the world around us, including our understanding of grace. If we have a small image of God, our ability to grasp His grace will be limited. It is only as we begin to allow the Holy Spirit to stretch our minds and hearts to know Him as He truly is can we then begin to understand and believe the magnitude of the Gospel, and the depths and power of Gods grace.
In today’s key verse Peter ends his second letter urging believers to do just that: to stretch our minds and to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18)
Peter is not talking about growing in facts. Facts can be good, but with knowledge about God, intellectual facts alone can leave a girl a little parched and dry when she comes up against a situation where she needs to truly know her God. I love in Philippians chapter three where we feel the weight of Paul’s heart cry, and I imagine he prayed this often: “I want to know Christ!” (Philippians 3:10) That is my heart cry too, and my prayer for each of you as we begin this journey studying grace together.
Isaiah chapter 40 has much to say to us about who God is. It is a long passage, but so full of treasures if we take our time with it and read it with our hearts seeking to know God. Who is He to you in this season of life?
I would love to be able to hear all of your responses, and praise God with you for who He is. It is here that the Creator of the universe becomes our personal God: our Saviour, our Healer, our Provider, and the Meeter of whatever our most pressing need is at this particular moment in time. It is here that He touches a need that maybe only He knows about and we feel His sweet love holding us in His almighty hands. A word that comes to mind for me when I think of who God is for me right now is “Relentless”. Relentless love, relentless patience with me, and a relentless outpouring of grace upon this daughter of the King ~ who more often seems like she doesn’t belong anywhere near a palace than she does act like the royalty she is in Christ. But grace enough! Our God is a God of grace ~ relentless grace.
The Greatness of God
Go on up to a high mountain,
O Zion, herald of good news;
lift up your voice with strength,
O Jerusalem, herald of good news;
lift it up, fear not;
say to the cities of Judah,
Behold your God!
Behold, the Lord God comes with might,
and his arm rules for him;
behold, his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.
He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead those that are with young.
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand
and marked off the heavens with a span,
enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure
and weighed the mountains in scales
and the hills in a balance?
Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord
or what man shows him his counsel?
Whom did he consult,
and who made him understand?
Who taught him the path of justice,
and taught him knowledge,
and showed him the way of understanding?
Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket,
and are accounted as the dust on the scales;
behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust.
Lebanon would not suffice for fuel,
nor are its beasts enough for a burnt offering
All the nations are as nothing before him,
they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.
To whom then will you liken God,
or what likeness compare with him?
An idol! A craftsman casts it,
and a goldsmith overlays it with gold
and casts for it silver chains.
He who is too impoverished for an offering
chooses wood that will not rot;
he seeks out a skillful craftsman
to set up an idol that will not move.
Do you not know? Do you not hear?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
It is he who sits above the circle of the earth
and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;
who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
and spreads them like a tent to dwell in;
who brings princes to nothing,
and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness.
Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown,
scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth,
when he blows on them, and they wither,
and the tempest carries them off like stubble.
To whom then will you compare me,
that I should be like him? says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high and see:
who created these?
He who brings out their host by number,
calling them all by name,
by the greatness of his might,
and because he is strong in power
not one is missing.
Why do you say, O Jacob,
and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
and my right is disregarded by my God?”
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.