As an author of over a dozen books I’ve often been asked, “What is your favorite book?” I explain to folks that their question is difficult to answer because it would be like asking me what son I love the most. I love them all equally.
Ernest Hemingway said this about authors, “A writer’s problem does not change. He himself changes and the world he lives in changes, but his problem remains the same. It is always how to write truly and having found what is true, to project it in such a way that it becomes a part of the experience of the person who reads it.”
Perhaps the most challenging work I’ve attempted was writing the book about knowing God through His character and attributes. The Ultimate Hunt was a work that used hunting metaphors, anecdotes, parables, analogies and even some humor to project profound truths about the God of all creation. By knowing God, we can better love, worship, honor, and adore Him. Knowing His character will allow us to properly represent our Lord to others while modeling His truth.
His Word tells us, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” Romans 1:20 NIV
After spending almost 200 hours in preparation, writing, and editing The Ultimate Hunt, I discovered that “knowing God” is a life-long process of discovery and experience. The more we read His Word, meditate on His love, and communicate with His person we can become better acquainted with His character.
The following story is a practical example that helps us recognize the responsibility we have in projecting truth to others. This is one of the best explanations of why God allows pain and suffering that I have seen. It’s an explanation other people will understand.
A man went to a barbershop to have his hair cut and his beard trimmed. As the barber began to work, they began to have a good conversation. They talked about so many things and various subjects.
When they eventually touched on the subject of God, the barber said: “I don’t believe that God exists.”
“Why do you say that?” asked the customer.
“Well, you just have to go out in the street to realize that God doesn’t exist. Tell me, if God exists, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? If God existed, there would be neither suffering nor pain. I can’t imagine a loving God who would allow all of these things.”
The customer thought for a moment, but didn’t respond because he didn’t want to start an argument. The barber finished his job and the customer left the shop.
Just after he left the barbershop, he saw a man in the street with long, stringy, dirty hair and an untrimmed beard. He looked dirty and unkempt. The customer turned back and entered the barber shop again and he said to the barber: “You know what? Barbers do not exist.”
“How can you say that?” asked the surprised barber. “I am here, and I am a barber. And I just worked on you!”
“No!” the customer exclaimed. “Barbers don’t exist because if they did, there would be no people with dirty long hair and untrimmed beards, like that man outside.”
“Ah, but barbers DO exist! What happens is, people do not come to me.”
“Exactly!” affirmed the customer. “That’s the point! God, too, DOES exist! What happens, is, people don’t go to Him and do not look for Him. That’s why there’s so much pain and suffering in the world.”
The various names of God are designations for His attributes. It is significant that names given to God are most often related to His people’s needs. God is compassionate in the presence of our misery. He is long-suffering in the presence of guilt. When we are repentant, the Almighty provides mercy. As He feels our needs, God can enter our lives with the appropriate comforting attribute.
Yes, dear friend, God is always able to meet us in our greatest need.
Have a great week!
Did you know? Our books, booklets, and other resources, including The Ultimate Hunt, are available at discount prices to our readers. Go to our website at: mensministrycatalyst.org/resources.
Write down some of the character traits about God that you have experienced.
When was the last time you shared your story (journey) with someone? Take an opportunity this week to notice someone struggling with an issue that connects to one of God’s character traits (e.g. someone feeling lonely — share that God is Omnipresent and is always with them — Psalm 144:2, Psalm 27:1, Psalm 139:7–12).
Jim Grassi, D. Min.