Perhaps it’s because my first born set off with a very low budget, a backpack, and what I thought to be a strange desire to see Eastern Europe.
He walked and rode buses. He talked to people. He stood in solemn places from the Holocaust.
While I watch the news, and find my heart breaking for the Ukraine, I can only imagine this place I’ve never been.
But for my son, it’s different. His connection to all that is going on there is on an entirely different level than mine for has walked those streets and talked with those people.
Ukraine is not just a place he imagines, it’s a place he has seen, and touched, and smelled.
And as I thought about this, I thought about how we experience God.
Tozer said, “To most people God is an inference, not a reality. He is a deduction from evidence which they consider adequate; but He remains personally unknown to the individual.”
He goes on to write, “Christians, to be sure, go further than this, at least in theory. Their creed requires them to believe in the personality of God, and they have been taught to pray, “Our Father, which art in heaven.” Now personality and fatherhood carry with them the idea of the possibility of personal acquaintance. This is admitted, I say, in theory, but for millions of Christians, nevertheless, God is no more real than He is to the non-Christian. They go through life trying to love an ideal and be loyal to a mere principle.
Over against all this cloudy vagueness stands the clear scriptural doctrine that God can be known in personal experience.
A loving Personality dominates the Bible, walking among the trees of the garden and breathing fragrance over every scene. Always a living Person is present, speaking, pleading, loving, working, and manifesting Himself whenever and wherever His people have the receptivity necessary to receive the manifestation.”
Just as the Ukraine is so much more real to my son, so is the eternal world to those who endeavor to truly, and fully, experience God.
Tozer goes on, in his powerful little book, The Pursuit of God to say, “We habitually think of the visible world as real and doubt the existence of any other”….. “We must shift our focus from the seen to the unseen.”
The spiritual is real. It is absolutely real and “not to be pushed into the future.”
It is here and now.
“As we begin to focus upon God” (in this life! In this day!) “the things of the spirit will take shape before our inner eyes.” (Tozer)
We will begin to see the reality of the spiritual world and have a familiarity of experience— the difference of which is akin to how my son views the Ukraine and how I, because I’ve never experienced it, view it.
But how do we experience our unseen God in this way?
Tozer says, “Obedience to the word of Christ will bring an inward revelation of the Godhead (John 14:21-23). It will give acute perception enabling us to see God even as is promised to the pure in heart. A new God-consciousness will seize upon us and we shall begin to taste and hear and inwardly feel the God who is our life and our all. There will be seen the constant shining of the light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world. More and more, as our faculties grow sharper and more sure, God will become to us the great All, and His Presence the glory and wonder of our lives.”
Oh friend, “ for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Heb 11:6)
Do you want to see Him? Oh that our hearts world pray to catch a glimpse of His glory in this day! Oh that our feet would endeavor to follow Him in every area our mind has been revealed to do so.
And for those who long to see past the cloudy vagueness, and for those who struggle and doubt, (as we all do at times) may we know we can say, as the father in Mark 9 , who desperately needed to see the Lord show up, “I believe help my unbelief” (v 24)
Oh friend, as the world goes crazy, as we long for peace and hope, may we pray as Tozer prayed- “O God, quicken to life every power within me, that I may lay hold on eternal things. Open my eyes that I may see; give me acute spiritual perception; enable me to taste Thee and know that Thou art good. Make heaven more real to me than any earthly thing has ever been. Amen.”