About 9 months ago, I began reading a book with a friend of mine called, Knowing God by J.I. Packer. I honestly did not think much of it. I sort of yanked it off the shelf because the title and packaging caught my eye and before I knew it, my life began to change.
This book study was one of those experiences in life that I didn’t plan on God using to change me, but He did. God used a 43-year-old book, His word, and THE most random group of women (four women who were newly transplanted to Austin, working in completely different fields, different ages and stages of life, with remarkably different personalities) to change me.
The most transformative part of it all was simply seeking one thing week after week: God himself. I love the way the David puts it in Psalm 27 as, “seeking His face.” How intimate. How simple. It’s almost as if David’s enthralled with God and He just wants to sit and stare. Kind of like how newlyweds or newborns are, ya know? He desires to know God more than anything.
One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple. (Psalm 27:4, ESV)
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
Your face, Lord, I will seek. (Psalm 27:8, ESV)
But there was one simple decision that changed my walk with God. It was setting the intention to seek to know Him more than anything. Day by day and bit by bit. In that process, my relationship with God had a new depth, a childlike wonder, and an unshakable joy. Finally and suddenly it was more about Him and less about me. It didn’t happen instantly – like eating one healthy meal doesn’t instantly change my body – but nurturing my soul with the healthy diet of humility, time alone with God in His word, and focusing on His character through Knowing God – I was changed.
When I say “know Him,” I don’t mean just the parts that make you feel good either. I mean all of God’s character. Even the parts we wrestle with and hold some mystery. Like his severity, jealousy, wrath, and invisibility. I also don’t mean just knowing things about God. Seeking God’s face means personally embracing the truth of who He is in Scripture with a fully engaged heart and mind.
If I tried to describe the fullness of God it would be like trying to explain the taste of water. Or trying to grab air. Or the way it feels looking out from the mountains. He’s WAY too great, too big, too wonderful.
“It (the Divinity) is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity. Other subjects we can compass and grapple with; in them we feel a kind of self-content, and go our way with the thought, “Behold I am wise.” But when we come to this master science, finding that our plumb line cannot sound its depth, and that our eagle eye cannot see its height, we turn away with the thought that vain man would be wise, but he is like a wild ass’s colt; and with solemn exclamation, “I am but of yesterday, and know nothing.” No subject of contemplation will tend more to humble the mind, than thoughts of God….” – Knowing God, J.I. Packer
Does not being able to describe water keep us from drinking it? Does not being able to grab air stop us from enjoying a cool breeze in the blazing summer heat? Does not the exhaustion of climbing mountains keep us from another step forward? Of course not! While knowing (the fullness of) God can feel impossible, He does give us glimpses of His glory when we seek His face. He promised He will! He’s more satisfying than the most refreshing and unexplainably good experiences we will ever have on this earth.
Let’s be women who spur on one another to lift our eyes to see the one thing more clearly. Let’s remind one another that the very best decision we can make on any given moment is to seek His face. We tend to overcomplicate the process when in all reality, our God has given us all we need to know Him. We have His word, His Spirit, and His people.
And as we seek Him, let’s be women who ask one another how that’s going and remind one another of who He is.
Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord;
his going out is sure as the dawn;
he will come to us as the showers,
as the spring rains that water the earth.” (Hosea 6:3, ESV)