My favorite day of all time was August 9, 2014. Glacier National Park had been on my bucket list for many years, and we were there! I was with my family in the midst of the most beautiful country I have ever seen. My dream of hiking the Alps faded into the background at Glacier. I think I’ll be fine!
One of my favorite things in life is exploring the great outdoors and experiencing all that God has made. I especially love the mountains. As I tell so many people, it’s not just about seeing the mountains the way some would do on a bus trip, It’s about being in them. It’s about smelling the mountain spruce and the wetland grasses. It’s about hearing the cry of the hawk, the coyote, the roar of the waterfall, and occasionally the larger animals that roam the land: the moose, the elk, and the grizzly. It’s about the grandeur of the mountains from an eagle’s view, and if I’m lucky enough, as I’ve been on occasion, I’ll stand in awe of the eagle as he swoops down and emerges, fresh trout gripped in his talons. It’s about the columbine, the lupine, the tiny alpine flora, and the bees and butterflies that habitat areas most men never see. It’s about tasting huckleberries for the first time, or that cool drink of water when I’m parched from the dry mountain air. It’s about feeling the cool moss between my toes and soaking my feet in a crystal lake at the end of a long ascent. No, you can never taste and see these things from a bus, and you can’t begin to imagine them from your living room. You have to experience them first-hand, or you will never know just how alive they will make you feel.
It’s like that with God. Some people see Him in the lives of others. Some people look at Him through the eyes of a church or a book by a favorite author. Others hear about Him and are not sure they want to approach. “He’s powerful; He has rules; He tells us what to do!” The mountain is steep; The air is thin; There might be a bear!
Courage, my friend!
God is worth the risk. And you will never know that until you experience Him for yourself.
Over 100 women at Central Ministries are studying “Experiencing God” together this fall. It’s a Bible Study aimed at helping us understand what it means to Experience God first-hand. God doesn’t want us to take a bus trip or a sight-seeing tour when it comes to Him. Just as we can experience creation first-hand by tasting, seeing, hearing, smelling and touching, God wants us to experience Him!
Henry Blackaby writes, “You come to know God by experience as you obey Him and He accomplishes His work through you.” He suggests seven steps to experiencing God, which go like this:
- God is always at work around you
- God pursues a continuing love relationship with you that is real and personal
- God invites you to become involved in His work
- God speaks by His Holy Spirit through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church to reveal Himself, His purposes, and His ways.
- God’s invitation for you to work with Him always leads you to a crisis of belief that requires faith and action.
- You must make major adjustments in your life to join God in what He is doing
- You come to know God by experience as you obey Him, and He accomplishes His work through you.
We never know God until we believe His word and find He’s tried and true. We can’t build a relationship through a third-party, an organization, or by amassing knowledge. We build a relationship with God as we trust what His word says, act on it, and see the results in our own lives. I could give many examples of how He has shown me He is trustworthy in His promises, in my finances, in my relationships, in my every-day activities, and even in my sense of personal well-being.
It’s the greatest journey I’ve ever been on, even better than my trip to Glacier, and that’s saying a lot! If you believe in God but have never experienced Him in a real way, let me encourage you to start a relationship with Him, or to take the next step in believing what He says. You will see that He is trustworthy, and completely true to His word. He invites you to join the greatest journey of all time, that of experiencing a real relationship with Him.