Standing on the wet sand of North Myrtle Beach last weekend I gazed out at the Atlantic and saw—water. Just blue water, all the way to the horizon. A few sandpipers scurried in and out of the surf, searching for breakfast. Empty seashells lay at my feet.
I didn’t notice anything more.
Yet I know underneath the surface waves, there’s much more.
Hidden Undersea Life
Off the coast of South Carolina, is a rich aquatic ecosystem. Crabs, eels, angelfish, barracuda, sea urchin, invertebrates, amberjacks, lionfish, corals, sponges, sea turtles, starfish and sharks all populate these waters, just below the surface.
Men haul in nets full of shrimp and pods of dolphins follow the shrimp boats, seeking a tasty snack. Humpback whales weighing 30-50 tons, migrate invisibly past us, while we busily splash in the shallows.
Yet we don’t see any of it.
My Knowledge Second-Hand
All my knowledge of sea creatures is second-hand, either from books, movies filmed by scuba divers, or by visiting aquariums and places like Sea World. I know and delight in the ocean’s wonders while sitting in a comfortable chair. Like most of my friends, I’ve never done any scuba diving, or explored the ocean’s depths in a small, underwater submersible.
Here’s what disturbs me.
I see the Almighty the same way.
I notice just the surface. None of the complexity, beauty or wonder underneath.
A Shallow Experience with Christ
After 30 years in the kingdom, I have a good emotional understanding of Jesus’ love and tenderness toward me. I’ve even seen flashes of His sense of humor. But most of what I know about my Lord comes second-hand from the Bible. I haven’t personally experienced the unfathomable depths of Christ. Before this year, I never sought to know Him in a deeper way. I’ve been satisfied just spiritually “wading in the shallows.”
God Wants to be Known
Yet our God isn’t content to be known “afar off.” Everything I see in the scriptures leads me to conclude that our Lord seeks intimacy with His people. He wants us to know every facet of His divine nature. Knowledge of His tenderness and care for us is a necessary foundation for any believer, but it’s only the start.
This year, I’ve begun to understand that my view of God is way too narrow.
A Deeper Vision
We serve a God of immense power, who’s truly sovereign over everything in the known universe, from volcanoes to the movements of tiny insects. Remember the plague of darkness which covered Egypt for 3 days? Or the flies swarming everywhere in Pharaoh’s kingdom? Both times only one region in Egypt was plague-free. Goshen, where the Israelite slaves lived.
Truly our God reigns, but I don’t have a revelation of what that means in a world that is becoming darker every year.
I haven’t experienced the fear of the Lord to any depth. Or His burning holiness. I’ve never felt holy awe or trembled in His presence. I have no sense of Him as majestic, the one true King. His righteousness and holy judgments? Right now they are just vague intellectual concepts.
So, am I praying to experience visions and supernatural encounters of the Almighty?
Instead, my prayer is simple.
I’m starting to ask God to show me who He truly is-–not who I imagine Him to be.
How the Holy Spirit chooses to open my eyes and give me a deeper understanding of the divine nature, is up to Him.
My New Journey
I do have a confession to make: walking down this new path God has chosen for me makes me uncomfortable.
The Redeemer I keep getting glimpses of redeems each of us for a purpose. As I deepen in Him, I’ll face new challenges, tougher tasks, and greater spiritual warfare. I’ll also be called to higher levels of obedience.
Fortunately, as my understanding of my Lord’s nature grows and deepens, my Christ-likeness will also deepen.
16 but when a man turns to the Lord the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:16-18 RSV)
We always reflect the God we worship. As I see more of His glory, I’ll become more like Him.
The image of the ocean with tiny humans on the edge was taken by Maureen Puccini. All other aquarium images and the featured image of the dolphin swimming in the ocean came from Pixabay.com.
“The Final Quest” by Rick Joyner is the book which started to expand my view of Jesus. The Holy Spirit is continuing to use this book to spiritually stir me up and keep me praying.