Encountering the Divine: Beyond the Whirlwind of Our Understanding

We often encounter moments that leave us wrestling with profound questions and yearning for deeper understanding. Growing up in an environment rich with spiritual fervor, I was no stranger to the passionate expressions of seeking God. These experiences, full of tears and joy, shouting and dancing, were powerful yet left me with an inner struggle. As everyone around me seemed to engage with God with unbridled passion, I found myself grappling with the very essence of seeking Him. What did it truly mean to know God? This question haunted me into adulthood and into my role as a pastor.

Now, when I stand before my congregation, inviting them to seek God, I sometimes find myself back in that place of inner turmoil. How do I guide others to know God when the depths of such knowledge remain a mystery even to me? There’s a tendency to lean on processes and practices, the concrete steps of spiritual formation. But deep down, a voice whispers, “You talk about the how, but not about the Who.”

Indeed, the spiritual disciplines are essential; they are the vehicle, not the destination. They help shape our journey but do not encapsulate the entirety of our relationship with God. For at the heart of our faith is not a methodology, but a Person—mysterious, complex, and unfathomably loving. God is not a concept to be mastered but a Presence to be encountered.

In our quest for certainty in an ever-changing world, we might find ourselves hiding behind the safety of our spiritual “expertise.” Yet, the truth is, we can never truly master the mystery of God. God’s nature defies our attempts at control or predictability. Like the wind, His Spirit moves in ways beyond our comprehension. The story of Job reminds us that God answers from the whirlwind—not from the calm but from the storm, inviting us into a relationship that is both terrifying and tender.

Job’s narrative reveals that knowing God is an experience marked by both the fierceness of a storm and the intimacy of a father’s love. It is to encounter both the untamable wildness of God and His playful, tender care. God’s response to Job, teeming with both challenge and affection, illustrates the complex nature of divine relationship. It’s a relationship where the Almighty can seem overwhelmingly powerful yet deeply personal and loving.

The path to truly knowing God lies not in accumulating knowledge or perfecting spiritual practices but in daring to face the whirlwind. It is in the midst of the storm that we discover God’s true character, a revelation that ultimately leads us to Jesus. Jesus embodies the fullness of God’s nature—His majesty and mercy, His power and tenderness. In Jesus, we find the answer to our deepest longing to know God, for He is the God who walks toward us through the storm, saying, “It is I; do not be afraid.”

Thus, the journey to know God is one of courage and surrender, of seeking not to master the divine but to be transformed by an encounter with Jesus Himself. It is to pursue the heart of God, knowing that in His presence, we find both the challenge of the whirlwind and the comfort of His touch. So let us chase the storm, let us seek to behold the face of Jesus, and in doing so, find the peace and purpose that only comes from knowing the true and living God.