GOD IS: Part Three
Straight into it this week :)
K – KING OF KINGS
I love royalty. Admittedly, I’m just as drawn to the romantic, totally fictitious side of it as I am the truth but there’s just something about royals that has me in awe. I love reading about them – both the real, live ones and those gracing the fairytales and novels on my bookshelves – and I love writing about them. Queen Elizabeth II will always be one of my absolute heroes.
It only struck me recently, though, what it means that God is King of Kings. Crazy, I know, since I grew up reading and singing about him by that name. But maybe that’s why, because it was so familiar, I never thought to consider it. King of all Kings. The most powerful kings and queens on earth answer to God. They’re powerful, their mere name or approval of something can set in motion wars, life and death. And yet, they’ve got nothing on God.
I love the reminder of this in the story of Daniel in the lion’s den (Daniel 6). King Darius was the most powerful king the world then had ever known. But he wasn’t powerful enough to save Daniel. Only God could do that. Where Darius couldn't change the law he'd made and was forced to throw Daniel into the den of lions, God closed the lion's mouths. The king spent a sleepless night worrying. God spent the night in complete control. God is the King of Kings.
Then King Darius sent this message to the people of every race and nation and language throughout the world:
L – LOVE
God is love. It’s written on almost every piece of Christian paraphernalia you could ever imagine. It’s probably the first thing I ever learnt about God. And with good reason. It’s true. Truer than we’ll ever be able to comprehend. God doesn’t just love, he is love.
I remember sitting one day in church, daydreaming about what it must have been like for the disciples to actually walk with Jesus. What he must have been like. It wasn’t a vision or anything but the Jesus in my imagination turned and, through the crowd, stared directly at me. I’ll never forget his gaze. It was only a split second of a moment, but time ceased to even exist as I basked in the absolute love I saw there. He saw me. He knew everything about me – good, bad, secrets, shame, triumphs – and he loved me. It was an acceptance that went beyond anything I’d ever known. I wasn’t just another face in the crowd. He cherished me. He wanted the best for me. He would have done anything for me.
I’d always wondered, reading the accounts of Jesus asking the disciples to drop everything and follow Jesus, both how they could have obeyed so instantly and whether I would have had the same courage. In that instant of seeing Jesus’ gaze, I knew both why they had and that I would. You can’t see that love and walk away. God is love.
1 John 4:16
We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.
M – MIRACLE MAKER
One of my favourite quotes is this: “Odds mean nothing in eternity” (Kathy Tyers, Firebird). I love it because it reminds me that, no matter how unlikely something looks, or how utterly impossible a situation is, if God wants it to happen, it will. God made the world and all its people. If he wants to stop the world turning, he can. If he wants to make a virgin girl pregnant, no problem. Take two completely different people living on opposite sides of the world and bring them together? Easy.
The Bible is full of miraculous stories – stronghold walls falling down with a shout, fish jumping into nets, blind people seeing, dead coming back to life, food falling from heaven, water coming out of a rock. One of my favourites, and the one that encourages me the most to believe for the impossible, is Saul/Paul’s conversion.
Here was this man who was an absolute terror. On his personal authority, Christians were being wiped out. Horrifically. He hated Christians and made no secret of it. And then, one day, he had a vision of Jesus and his whole life turned around. He didn’t just stop terrorising Christians, he became one of the greatest evangelists the world has ever known. Talk about a miracle! God truly can do anything. He is the Miracle Maker.
With God, all things are possible.
N – NEAR
F was Far. N is Near. Perhaps it sounds like a contradiction but it’s not. I love that God is far enough away to not get caught up in my little problems, but I also love that he’s near enough to see them and care. It’s the little things that remind me just how close God is. Things that really aren’t all that important, and yet, they mean the world to me. Things only God would know.
I wrote once about getting pyjamas for my kids in the mail. I have story after story of God coming near like that. Times when it felt too inconsequential to even pray about something (which, coming from me who pretty much prays about everything, says a lot) but God did it anyway and I was left, once again, in complete awe of both how close God is and how much he cares.
Not only that, but he came to earth! Or, as The Message puts it, God put on flesh and moved into the neighbourhood. How cool! There’s Jesus, walking his dog down the street. Up at the local park, chatting with a bunch of guys as their kids play. Turning snags on the BBQ at Bunnings. Watering his garden. Hardhat in hand as he heads off to the construction site. Sitting in Emergency, waiting for x-rays back on a possible broken arm.
He could have stayed far away but he came near, choosing to be part of this world. So that we would know that he knew what it was like. God is near.
The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.
O – OMNISCIENT
Big word but hey, it starts with O. God is all-knowing. Or, another name for him, El Roi – God who sees. God knows everything. That should scare me – someone knowing everything about me, everything everything – but it never has, because he’s on my side.
Though I’ve totally forgotten where I read it, I’ll never forget the story I read once of a cleaner mopping floors. He cleaned them shiny once, then they got walked on. So he went back to the start and did them all over again. And was just finished when another heap of dirt came in. So he did them again, and again, they were messed. He was standing there, dejected, staring at the messy floors he’d just cleaned three times when God spoke to him. “I saw you the first time.”
Okay, so I probably missed all the details of the story but the gist was there. God sees. Having little kids, including one in a high chair who likes to dump whatever he’s not eating on the floor, I can totally relate to that cleaner. I’ll vacuum and mop the floors and two minutes later, it doesn’t look like I did anything. To say it’s discouraging feels like an understatement. I do the same thing, over and over every day, and by the end of the day, it doesn’t look like I’ve done anything at all.
But God saw it. He saw me try. He saw me find the strength to get out of bed, he knows the courage it took to talk to someone who scares me, he knows when I’m disappointed or discouraged, he knows how I’m really feeling when I dodge the question of ‘how are you?’ and how much the virtual bunch of bright yellow flowers my little sister messaged me this morning meant to me.
He hears the prayers I pray, over and over, and fills in the blanks when I don’t know what or how to pray. He sees beyond the person I let the world see, the person I think I am, to the very heart of me. He sees both who I am and who I will be.
God sees me. And that makes all the difference.
Hagar gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”
May you be encouraged this week by the all-powerful, miracle-making king who loves you, knows you and sees you. No matter how you’re feeling. I pray God finds you where you are and that you let him draw near. He loves you more than you could ever imagine.
Over halfway there! Eleven letters to go. Wondering what X, Y and Z will be? Stick around to find out. And if you missed Parts One and Two, check them out too!