You Don't Know Him

9:47 PM

They told me He was a good God. A loving God. "Smile!" they said. "Jesus loves you!" He was a just God, they said. A holy God. "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty," we sang on several Sundays. They told me that He sent His Son to die on the cross for my sins so that we could go to heaven. "Trust in Jesus," they said. "Be good," they said. "Read your Bible and pray," they said.

But they didn't tell me this.

He didn't die so that I could go to heaven. He saw me; He chose me; from the foundation of the world He knew me. In the crazy, mixed-up love He calls grace, He pursued me from the beginning of time, knowing my fall, planning my salvation, dying so that, yes, I could go to heaven, but that is only amazing because I will spend all eternity worshiping the love that first loved me.

He loves me. Not in a kindly, pie-in-the-skyly way, like an affectionate ruler giving common grace to all, but in a particular, unique, one-on-one way. A love that is incomprehensible by trite phrases and analogies to human love and friendship.

Because He is God. This God I pray to -- He is God. The same God who spoke the light into existence spoke, "I have loved you with an everlasting love" to His beloved. The same God whose fingers are speckled with stardust formed my innermost parts. The same God who created the mind of Plato and C. S. Lewis, Dickens and Aristotle -- the same God, the same genius, knew every facet of my personality before time started. The same God who inspired Peter and changed Paul appeared to my soul and offered the same Self, the same call, the same strength.

I know Him. At least, I know a little bit of Him. And this isn't a fun fact: this is reality. It's like living next door to the President and having him call me every afternoon to see if my cold has let up or if I made an A on my chemistry test.

Don't you think that's worth telling others about? This relationship? Not some sort of dry philosophy about life or another list of rules to follow or even a hope that one will escape that unmentionable fiery place. Don't you think that when people ask who you are or where you're going, that this love, this relationship, this special intimacy to the God of the universe should show up at least somewhere?

Don't you think that this God, who is God and who loves us beyond all comprehension and common sense, don't you think He deserves more than praise songs on Sunday and a half-hearted prayer addressing Great Aunt Brunhilda's third cousin's sister's rheumatism?

Don't you think that this overwhelming knowledge would just shatter everything that formerly defined you and that you'd walk around in this happy, awestruck daze that oozes out of every transformed pore of your being?

Don't you think?

This God you thought you worshipped? You don't know Him.

They didn't tell me this. But I'm telling you now. And unlike the happy Sunday school sayings...this is going to change your life.

Photo Credit: NASA and ESA

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15 impressions

  1. That is awesome! Thanks for sharing, Bailey!

  2. Forever yes.

    As always, Lee-dear, this is true, and in this post, deeply so. But I do have a problem:

    "...the crazy, mixed-up love He calls grace..."

    That popped out at me in a major way. God's grace, His love, is crazy? It's mixed-up? Hardly! I couldn't resolve myself to that sentence however long I stared at it.

    Trust me to pick out a tiny piece out of a beautiful post and have my comment be all about that... sorry. :)

  3. Hey, Allison! No, you're right to pick it out. It's crazy and mixed up from a human perspective. Think about it. Why on earth would a holy God, who doesn't owe us anything, pay the ultimate sacrifice for a bunch of sinners who willfully rebel against Him and hate what He calls good?

    It's pretty crazy to me that God came as a man to die for conceited religious people like me, and murderers, and rapists, and all the other various and sundry sinners on earth.

    He doesn't owe us anything and yet He paid all. It makes no sense no matter how you try to wrap your mind around it.

    It's amazing like that. I mean no disrespect. But it isn't entirely logical and fair, from our perspective, for the just to die for the unjust, for the holy to love the evil.

  4. I agree! Great post Bailey! It's so important to know God and to tell others about him. As to the crazy love, I couldn't agree more. It IS crazy that He came to die that we might live! WOW! He truly loves us!

  5. From a human perspective ... okay. I suppose that makes sense. It's not precisely the way I'd put it, but we're not the same, you and I. =)

    It kind of reads like you meant God was acting crazy and mixed-up. I get it now, though.

    Luv ya!

  6. I am constantly amazed that He loved me enough to die the worst form of natural death - for me. (And everybody else.)

    I think God is seen as a loving Grandfather by many people. The Bible is not just a book of stories - what He was then, He is now, and He is amazing, powerful, and gracious. Not just gracious.

    I like this post! :)

  7. That is very awesome, in the truest sense of the word. It's this that we'll always come back to, marveling and weeping, because it is just so far beyond our comprehension. Thanks for the reminder, Bailey.


  8. Wow, Baily.

    Actually, scratch that.

    Wow, God. :)

    Many similar thoughts have been filling my mind over the past few months... I truly cannot fathom His love-- for me! And He knows me... all the ugliness and sin. And yet... He LOVES me. Not just any kind of love: extravagant, senseless (to me), extraordinary, crazy, sacrificial love.

    Thank you so much for writing it out so clearly and for, once again, reminding me of how awesome God is. :)

    If you'd ever like to just talk about how awesome He is... I'm always up for that sort of talk. :D (I blog here, among a few other places.)

    God bless,

  9. Beautiful. Thanks for writing.

    You know, it's funny how we desire so many things in this life and we forget that we have everything in Him. It's sad... looking at my own life to see how much I demand from God in order to be happy when just having Him should be sufficient in and of itself.

  10. I really enjoyed this post. My two cents - I particularly liked the phrase "crazy, mixed-up love". By human standards of sane and insane the love Bailey is describing is crazy. Putting it this way demonstrates how we cannot apply to God the standards we apply to people. It just doesn't work. Even our words fall short. "love" is the closest approximation we have, but of all the many meanings the word love can have when referring to human relations, none of them is really the same as the concept I think Bailey is trying to get across. We just don't have good enough words for that kind of all-encompassing . . . whatever.

    Bailey - your passion leaps off the page. Makes your blog fun to read. Thanks for sharing.


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  12. Adele - Bailey seems to have made it clear that she and I (and you and I) differ only in word choice, not belief, in regards to that phrase. Which is a relief. =)

    Love is a hard word. It can have so many different meanings. Wouldn't it be nice if there were different words for every kind of love? There's brother-sister love, husband-wife love, child-parent love ... and then there's God's love. That incredible, unbelievable love that doesn't fit into our limited ideas of logic and justice, that showed itself on the cross. And to think that just coming down to earth was humiliating enough by itself! We cannot fully grasp such a thing.

    Thanks for the discussion, ladies!

  13. Hi Allison,

    Thanks for the reply. I am pretty certain you and I differ in our beliefs as well as, and probably a lot more than, our word choice. I am not a Christian. I read Bailey's blog and even comment sometimes because I enjoy her posts about family relations, but also because I frequently find her posts on theology are not in conflict with my own beliefs, but actually in surprising harmony with my own spirituality - just seen through a different lens, if you will. Her posts prompt me to think clearly and analyze what I believe, and I greatly appreciate this prompting.

    You say "Which is a relief" in your comment. Probably that feeling is directed more toward differences with Bailey than me, but I would hate to think I caused anyone stress. I think it is a good thing to have differences in discussions of this sort - even differences in deeply held beliefs. I have no desire to cause conflict. I read a post and my mind starts churning and I get excited, and then I like to let Bailey (or a commenter) know that she sparked that and even what particular words and phrases were particularly thought-provoking to me.


  14. Adele,
    No, you didn't cause any conflict to speak of, at least for me. It was directed mostly toward Bailey, because I would hate to discover that she and I differed - (and if she thought of God as crazy, that's pretty big). I agree, differences of opinion and belief can be very useful in discussion.
    I didn't realize you didn't hold similar beliefs to Bailey and myself (I suppose I thoughtlessly jumped to that conclusion since you read Bailey's deeply Christian blog). We really do differ in more than word choice, then, don't we?

    If you aren't a Christian, would you mind telling me a little of your beliefs?

    P.S. I like your name very much.

  15. Bailey,

    If you would prefer that Allison and I take this discussion to a different forum, please let me know. For now I am posting my response here in case you and some of your readers would like to know "where I'm coming from" when reading my comments.


    You were not thoughtless at all - you made a perfectly reasonable assumption and one I would make myself. In fact, I did make that assumption about you when I stated that you and I differed! LOL

    I am a Unitarian Universalist. This is a non-creedal religion with liberal Christian roots. Most modern UUs do not consider themselves Christians. Some do, but even they would probably not be considered Christians by most other Christians. There is no doctrine to which UUs are expected to subscribe, so UUs believe many different things. We are joined together as a religion by a set of principles (link is at the bottom if you are interested). One of those principles is "a free and responsible search for truth and meaning". We believe that theology is a journey that each individual has to make for herself. I see many of Bailey's posts as steps on her theological journey. She (and you) is taking her journey within the framework of Christianity, whereas I am not, but the process - the journey - has many similarities to mine as do many of the conclusions she reaches.
    I view most religions as a language for descibing some very abstract and difficult concepts and a set of tools for living our lives. Christianity is not the language I choose to use most of the time, but in devout Christians I have found seekers who are actively thinking about the "Big Questions" and trying to live their lives in a way that is more than just existing. This is why I follow a couple Christian blogs. I also follow a couple atheist blogs, but I would not label myself an atheist either. I am more interested in particular writing styles and thoughtful contemplation of topics that interest me.

    I hope that answers your question. Please let me know if you have any other questions!

    Here are the Unitarian Universalist principles:



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