Is there someone who you would say is a very good friend of yours? A special friend? Someone you like to spend time with?
Well, I wonder … how well do you know your friend?
That’s not a very clever question is it? Of course you know your friend … and your friend knows you.
So let me ask you something else.
How well do you know God?
Do you know him well enough to call him a friend?
Or do you think that’s possible?
Can we really know God?
Is it really possible to know God–in a personal way?
Maybe that idea is a problem for you. … Maybe it’s a thought that is hard for you to accept … and hard to understand. You know that God is great and powerful. You know he controls everything in our universe. But for you, God is somewhere … away out there … out of reach. … And you just can’t understand why anyone could say that they know God personally … or that they could call God a friend.
But that’s where the problem comes isn’t it? … We know that God is powerful … that he controls everything. But then we wonder, “If he is so great and powerful … Why should God pay any attention to us? Why should he even notice us? Why should he even care?”
That’s a good question … such a good question, that I think it’s worth taking some time, right now, to think about it.
Can we really know God–personally?
I believe we can.
But first … perhaps we really need to decide what we mean by knowing God.
Do we mean to know something–even to know a lot–about God?
You can know a great deal about a person, without ever having met him–or her–or talked with him, or shared any time with him.
It also doesn’t mean knowing him in the way you might say you knew someone who you met once several years ago, but you haven’t seen since. In a way you do know that person … but not very well.
Knowing God, the way we are talking about it just now, is knowing him well enough to be able to say he is your friend.
Is that possible?
Now, maybe you’ve been taught all your life that there is a great space between you and God. Perhaps you believe in God. Perhaps you even worship God in some way. But you have been taught that God is up there … and you are down here … and that he’s too busy to know about every little detail down here on this planet.
And if that is the way you have been taught, well of course you find it difficult to think of the idea of God being a friend to you. And I can understand that. I used to wonder about that, too.
Imagine an ant looking up at you from the ground. If it could think, that ant would probably think you were a great powerful being that could make big changes in its little world. It probably, also, would think that you weren’t really very interested in the feelings of one little ant.
Isn’t that the way you have sometimes thought about God? He’s big, he’s powerful, but he couldn’t possibly be interested in you … or even notice what you are doing, or feeling, or thinking.
I suppose that’s kind of a normal feeling.
But you know something? I discovered that God does know how I feel. He does know what I am thinking. He does know every little detail of my life.
Listen to what Jesus said about that, one day when he was talking to some of his followers…
“What is the price of five sparrows? A couple of pennies? Not much more than that. Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And he knows the number of hairs on your head! So, never fear, you are far more valuable to him than a whole flock of sparrows.”
God knows about every little sparrow–and every other bird and animal in our world.
And God even knows how many hairs you have on your head.
That tells me that if he is interested in me enough to know a little detail like that, then I must be–and you must be–important to him. More important than we ever dreamed.
If you are a friend to someone, you care about them, don’t you. You are interested in what they do. You want to know the little details about them … because that is important for a friend. And that is how God treats you … he takes time to know all the little details about you … things that even you don’t really know about yourself.
So, if God knows so much about you, then he can’t be so far away, can he? He must be closer than you thought.
And if he is so close–and if he cares so much about you–don’t you think it might be a good idea for you to get to know God, personally?
How would you do that?
Well, you can learn about him.
You can read what he has to say to you–in the Bible.
You can treat him as a friend, by talking to him … by sharing with him the little details of your life. He already knows most of it … but he likes to hear about it from you, in person. Tell him about the things that you like … and don’t like. Tell him what makes you happy … and the things that make you sad, or afraid.
Why should you do that?
Why should someone as great and powerful as God, care what you think?
I don’t really know why he should … but he has chosen to do that.
I don’t know why it should be important how many hairs there are on my head … or on yours. But that is a detail about me, and you, that God knows. He actually keeps count of all those little birds–those sparrows–all around the world … and I suppose, every other kind of bird and animal.
And Jesus says I am far more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.
So are you.
A person who is a friend cares about the little details in their friend’s life. A person who is a friend places value on his or her friends. Your friend is important to you. And you hope you are just as important to your friend.
Well, you are important to God. He knows you, personally. He has said so, through Jesus.
Now, here comes the question we all have to think about.
It’s a serious question.
How important is God to you?
How well do you know God.?
You don’t know him very well? … You don’t even really know much about God at all, except that he is powerful, and that somehow you believe he is the force that keeps the universe running?
Well, that’s a good place to start.
Begin learning about God.
But don’t stop with learning about him.
As you learn about God, ask him to help you to truly get to know him–personally.
I can guarantee that he would like to hear from you.