“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You” (Job 42:5).

WE ARE FAR AWAY FROM GOD, AND THE JOURNEY BACK TO HIM TAKES MORE THAN A DAY. We begin by hearing distant reports of Him, perhaps listening to them skeptically because they don’t fit with what we think we know of reality. Eventually, however, we begin to see some truth in what we’ve heard. At some point, we may commit ourselves to seeking Him and living according to His principles, although some of these principles still don’t make complete sense to us. But over time, we discover that we’ve passed into a completely different land than we used to live in. What once was theory now seems solid and very practical. We find that the knowledge of God is no longer something to speculate about but rather something to experience. Like Job, who said, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you,” we find that however serious we were about God before, He has now become real to us. And in the process of His becoming real to us, we ourselves have become real also.

It needs to be said, of course, that the passage from knowing God in theory to knowing Him in real life involves a good deal of discomfort. Just as it is through suffering that our knowledge becomes wisdom, so it is through suffering that our wisdom becomes reality. Only as we work our way through hardships do we learn that the truth really is true after all. The safe nursery of our thinking is not where we find out what works and what doesn’t; it’s out in the street where mistakes about what is real are costly. That is why God invites us to take some risks and put Him to the test: “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8).

Becoming real is a gradual process. It takes place so slowly that sometimes we wonder if we’re making any progress at all. But if we’re patient — and if we’re willing to accept a certain amount of pain as we learn — then the time will come when the best of the good ideas we’ve had will come true. We’ll find ourselves not merely thinking about God but knowing Him. And in God, what we’ve always wanted to be is what we actually will be!

“‘Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you . . . It doesn’t happen all at once. It takes a long time'” (Margery Williams).

Gary Henry – WordPoints.com

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