If there was a way to know God completely I wonder if I would go crazy just trying to figure it out. God doesn’t reveal himself completely. He won’t. He’s a mystery, one that Sherlock Holmes and Nancy Drew wouldn’t even come close to unraveling. And yet that one verse intrigues me. You know the one – “…and my sheep know me.” (John 10:14)
I think when I’m dead someday, and my spirit connects with Jesus somewhere out there, I will know him completely. The lines in his face will all make sense, his height, his weight, all that stuff will help me understand why I’ve limited God to just someone I met one day. I know this doesn’t make sense, but I’m tired of trying to picture the Jesus I love and serve. You know, frame him in; put the matting around the borders.
If it was only that easy.
I could put him in my pocket. Carry him around with me. Pulling him out to meet my need or when I see one. That would be easy, wouldn’t it?
And yet I have this irresistible passion to know him…to understand him…to touch him. But all I have is this picture in my pocket. And I do my best with it. I really do. God gave me an A- the other day in my “Picture-carrying Jesus” class.
I could probably move my grade to an A+ if I could figure out a way to straighten out the rough edges that have been forming around my picture. But I’m tired. So I think I’ll just be happy with the grade I got. It’s okay. It’s my picture.
Actually I’m not okay. That picture I have is not enough. I need more than that. What if I lose it? What if someone steals it? The other day I entered a small town restaurant and immediately people were looking at me. Probably wondering who I was, maybe I would be someone they knew. I thought since I had their attention I would show them my picture, but I couldn’t find it. It wasn’t there.
They went back to eating. I found a table and sat down. Frustrated that no one would be able to see the picture I had…well, at least I thought I had it. The club sandwich hit the spot. Nice place to eat. I asked the waitress if she was from the area. She said, yes. I went to pull out my picture to show her. It wasn’t there. She left. I finished my diet Pepsi, paid and left.
I got a D that day in my “Picture-carrying Jesus” class.
I’m beginning to wonder if there is something wrong with the picture. It should be everything I need. Hope, faith, love is all found in that picture. It’s all there! Come on.
In my pursuit of knowing God completely, I keep coming up short. I’ve been walking around the last few months showing everybody my picture. Letting them take a good look at the One who can meet every need they have or could even dream of having.
Check out this picture Mall.
Check out this picture Church.
Check out this picture City.
Check out this picture Friend.
Check out this picture Enemy.
Check it out. Isn’t it cool? It’s incredible, isn’t it?
The heck with the picture, I’ve decided to rip it up. It’s not cool; it’s a picture.
It can’t talk.
It can’t smell.
It can’t feel.
It can’t see.
It can’t hear.
I know it can’t hear, because I yelled at it the other day. I pulled it out of my pocket on my way home from that small town restaurant, and I yelled at it. Where were YOU? Why couldn’t I find YOU?
I ripped it up. It’s gone. I no longer have a picture in my pocket.
And then it happened. Are you ready? This is weird. When I ripped up the picture I was taking a huge step of faith. Huge. Big. Grandiose. And I didn’t even know it. That picture was my everything, everything I needed to live my life. Without it I’m nothing. I’m unworthy, unclean…
…and yet I can see God better than ever. Wow, how did you get so big, God? Were you always so big? He said, “Yes! Always. And I’ve been waiting for you to know me the way that I Am.” “Sweetness,” was about the best word I could think of at the moment. I remembered the time I was five, and I was sneaking a peak out of my living room window as my mom took one of our chickens and chopped its head off. The chicken danced for a while, as if it was free from something, as if the party was only beginning…and then it stopped. Lifeless. The party was over. It lay dead. I cried. My mom killed the family chicken!
We all ate chicken that night.
There is something about the death of a chicken and the death of a picture that leaves a feeling of vulnerability. And in our vulnerability God shows up. The real God, the One who isn’t printed on a picture somewhere. And he looks so much different than my ripped up picture.
He always did.