Before I Knew You

9 06 2010

“Before I knew you…” the person begins, going on to describe what they thought of me before they got to know me. I have had the strangest things said to me beginning with that sentence. People have profiled me based on my hair, what I do, how many kids I have, where I live, what jacket I am wearing, the vehicle I am driving (OK, I get the profiling based on my van; I deserve that one), the books I have on my shelf, my lawn chair, the people I am related to or have coffee with; and I have done the same to others.

I watch myself on this; I watch how quickly I assemble a story and how often I have to disassemble it based on new information. I hear an excerpt from someone’s life and I think, “aha;” I hear another and I have to change my mind altogether.

Now I find myself wondering what comes after page one. There are no short-stories when it comes to people and it would be a great disservice to them if I actually believed, “What you see is what you get.” Not true. What you see is only the cover. What you hear is only the description on the flyleaf. Who they are takes time and curiosity.

This doesn’t just apply to people; we profile God. People hear a few tidbits of information; they have presumptions; they compare Him to someone else they know or an excerpt from the Bible, and based on this composite they run with a story of their own design.

But have we had the time and the curiosity to have actual “knowledge of the Holy One,” as Proverbs 9:10 says? If I pick up the Bible and read Genesis 1:1 and stop there, what do I know about God? It is only a first impression. There are 66 books to be read in the Bible before I can begin to say I have any understanding; and even if I read through them all, one verse can be food for thought for hours (years).

But I can read without desire. I can read God like a textbook, not leaving any room for anything to be unknown or beyond me. I can read God without experiencing Him, without taking the time to walk and talk with Him, to see what He is like and how He sees things.  This is not “knowledge of God” – this is us flipping through the Reader’s Digest and calling ourselves experts.

Some people have a “Before I knew God” story; I have grown up with God like a member of my household. What astounds me though, is that as the years go by I realize there is so much I don’t know about Him. I have sat at the table with Him, read in the living room with Him, stayed up all night with Him, cried with Him, celebrated with Him and then one day I find myself saying, “I didn’t know that about You; that makes so much more sense now.”

Sometimes I think I understand, and then realize I am only at the beginning of understanding and I love being here. I loving knowing (what I think is) so much about God that and then realizing it isn’t much at all.

I love that I haven’t, nor can I ever, come to the end of God.

— Teresa Klassen




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