At its core, the question How can I know God, or How can I relate to God, may be more about God’s “know-ability” than how do I go about getting to know someone. I know how to relate to other people, how to make friends; but I don’t know how to relate to and become friends with the invisible, all-powerful Master of the Universe.
There are some other questions you will find in the Questions Cloud below that prepare the foundation for this question such as: What Is God Like?, Why Did God Create People?, Does God Talk To People? Let’s assume you have looked into these or have a basic understanding of God’s ability and willingness to relate to people—His creation. If He created us in His image, we should be able to commune with Him on some level.
So what would this relationship be like? Is it somewhere between a relationship with my new car and my closest family member? Or possibly beyond? Here’s a thought from the book Searching for a God to Love, by Chris Blake.
What type of interaction may we experience with this God? Certainly it's not a mechanical interaction like we have with a car, which will run smoothly if we fix all the parts. Personal relationships don't work that way. It seems to me that we must move even beyond the clichéd "personal relationship" with God, for I can have a personal relationship with a gerbil. Beyond a personal relationship—my fondest hope with my mate and my children—is deep friendship.
The prospect of an individualized response brings fresh meaning to our connection. A folktale describes an African village that purchased a television set and a generator. For weeks all of the children and adults gathered around the set from morning to evening watching the programs. After a couple of months, though, the set was turned off and never watched again. A visitor noticed the dusty set and inquired of the chief, "Why do you no longer watch the television?"
"We have decided to listen to the storytellers," the chief explained. "Doesn't the television know more stories?"
"Yes," the chief replied, "but the storyteller knows me."
The television isn't a person. Unlike God, the television's energy has no personality, no ability to care, no responsiveness, and no possibility of friendship.
The God of the Bible shows characteristics of a living paradox: male and female; friend and boss; lover and coach; child and warrior; large enough to run the universe, small enough for me. With respect to God’s gender, we can readily see the Mother in our Father, the absolute best maternal attributes—selflessness, tenacity, encouragement, humility, tenderness, immovable devotion—are traits of the biblical God. The all-powerful God is also a nimble nurturer.
Remember, the Bible—God’s book about Himself—says that He Is Love! That means He’s the definition, the very essence and embodiment of love. Is it possible that a relationship with God is like a pure, perfect, unfailing version of the very best human relationship we can imagine.
But now I am back to my ability to “rise” to the level of this kind of relationship. How can I have a personal, friendship relationship with God? How can I possibly bring enough to a relationship with God to even get one started?