I once heard Beth Moore state, “What God is to people, He is to a person.”
Beth says something profound every time she opens her mouth, and one can get used to her pithy statements. So I’m not sure what made it stand out to me. Besides, this was something we’ve all heard before:
Our God is a personal god. A relational one. He wants us to know Him.
Okay, I get it. I understand. At least, I thought I did … The longer I thought about her statement, the more I realized I viewed God as what He is to “people.” I understood this idea empathetically. In a manner where I viewed myself as part of the crowd…
1 of the 5000 fed (John 6:2)…
1 of the 72 sent out (Luke 10:1)
1 of the many spreading their cloaks on the ground, shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David!” (Matthew 21:9)…
He is the God of Isreal. The God of entire nations. The God of cities and households. (Notice, all of that is plural.)
Have you ever written a letter and put it in a bottle to float away in the ocean? Or written a fan letter to your favorite celebrity? (After the ’96 Olympics, I wrote a letter to Dominique Moceanu and received a generic response with a photocopied – photocopied! *shaking my head* — signature on it. Not cool, Dominique. Not cool.)
This is what my prayers felt like. I knew someone (God) would “read” them eventually … And I might have received a response … if I was lucky.
“What God is to people, He is to a person.”
God was someone who glazed over me while attending to the needs of the greater population. A lot like our government. Or the school principal … rifling through student files, knowing names and grades, but never knowing student faces or the sound of their voices. I was affected by His decisions and actions, but only because I was a part of the crowd.
Friends, I was wrong.
“What God is to people, He is to a person.”
Read these details of the days after His resurrection with me and we’ll see why I was wrong.
11But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb.12And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic,b “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). (John 20:11-16 ESV, emphasis mine)
So He called her by name.
He called her by name. It was so personal, she couldn’t NOT recognize Him.
Then, Jesus goes on to find Thomas…
25So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” 26Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:25-28 ESV, emphasis mine)
Our omnipotent and powerful Lord spoke directly to him…
Even when Thomas set stipulations on his belief (“Unless I see…” v.25), Christ came back for him.
God interacts with us, just like our earth-bound friends and family. And not just “us,” but me. Me!
Me, the one who searches and asks questions – just like Mary.
Me, the one who makes my belief conditional – just like Thomas.
I can hardly stand it.
The Bible is his daily conversation with me. Just a week and a half ago, He told me to get over myself and keep sharing His word through a t-shirt with a bible verse on it.
Scripture is His archaic version of picking up the phone to chat. And it’s not a conference call with the rest of mankind.He has my cell phone number. (I can’t imagine our President or even my high school principal picking up the phone to reach out to me on such a personal level.)
But I know Someone who will … and does.