167 – Do You Really Know Who God Is? Part 4

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Do You Really Know Who God Is Part 4 Write from the Deep podcast with Karen Ball and Erin Taylor YoungIt’s so easy for us, when we’ve known someone a long time, been around them every day, to take for granted that we know them inside and out. And yet, there are always things we don’t know. In fact, some of what we think we know are just assumptions. We’re inclined to do this not just with people, but with God. So don’t let that happen. Instead, come explore more of God’s complexity with us!

Thanks to our sponsors on Patreon, we’re able to offer an edited transcript of the podcast!

Erin: Welcome listeners. We’re excited that you’re joining us here in the deep. Today we’re continuing our series about God. We are loving this series, you guys. We’re talking about knowing God better so we can trust him and we can lean on him.

God gives us life and breath and everything else. That includes the stories we share with others. It’s all about the truth that we have that sets us free from the world, the bondage, the decay, the sin. We have to know that truth, and we have to know God.

God is right on time

Karen: Today’s first attribute is God is right on time. He’s never late. He’s never early, no matter what we think. We like God to work on our timeline. We like to tell God, “Well, Father, this needs to happen by…” all the while, not realizing who we’re saying this to. God knows the exact right timing. I can guarantee you, his timing is seldom our timing.

I just went and spoke up in the Seattle area at a writer’s conference. Well, not only was I speaking, I was doing the keynote speech that opened the conference. The very first thing everybody was going to hear.

Erin: No pressure!

Karen: No pressure. When I agreed to do this months ago, I was like, no big deal. I do keynotes all the time. I’m good with this.

Every stinking time I sat down to write this thing, I’d sit there and I’d stare at the screen. I’d stare at the computer screen, and I’d be like, “I got nothing. Let’s go garden.”

It just kept happening and kept happening. By the week before the conference, I was talking with God and I said, “I’ve really got to get this put down on paper. We got to let this happen, Lord.”

So I came and I sat at my computer. And, yeah. My mantra. “I got nothing. Lord, there’s just nothing there.”

Now people had given me ideas all along the way, and I actually tried to build on some of those ideas and craft a speech based on that. And it just didn’t happen.

So there I am in Seattle, in my hotel the night before I’m supposed to deliver the speech. It was around 7:30 that night, and I was giving the speech at 9:30 the next morning. I was sitting on the couch watching TV because I’d tried earlier and nothing happened.

Then I get kind of this spiritual tap on my shoulder. All I get is this urge inside that it’s like, “Now.”

Okay, I’m good. So I go and I sit at the computer. I close my eyes, and I just start laughing because God revealed to me, unfolded, that all of these things that I had tried to develop into a speech were all laying the groundwork for what he really wanted me to tell everyone.

When I gave this keynote I said, “Okay, I thought I might talk to you about…and so on, but that wasn’t going to work. So then I realized I could talk to you about and so on.”

All of these previous ideas fed into the speech that I gave. I had so much fun talking about the process. The people listening had so much fun hearing it. We were laughing, we were crying, and then I came to the thing that God had told me, “This is the message I want you to give to them.”

It was in Ezekiel chapters two and three, selected sections, where God comes to Ezekiel and says, “I have appointed you a watchman, and this is what I want you to do. Go to Israel, to this rebellious nation and tell them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says.'”

I’m just laughing to myself because I’m like, “That’s what I’m doing, Lord. I’m telling them, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says,’ and that’s perfect for writers!”

It just worked out so well. I had so many people coming up and telling me how it blessed them. I thought, and actually said to them, “You know, God knew what you needed, and he provided in his time and in his way.”

For one of the first times in my life, I didn’t worry about it. I just said, “When you’re ready, you’ll pour it into me.” And he did. The timing was all up to God.

If I had gotten it too early, if I had started and forced it and tried to make it come out, I would have figured it was all me and my great wisdom and what a terrific speaker I am.

Yet if it had been too late, I’d have been standing there facing these people and just, you know, “Lord!” It would have been a terrible thing. But the timing was up to God, and it was perfect. All he asked of me was to be willing to wait on him and his timing.

God will never be too late. He will never be too early. God is perfectly timed in everything he does for you and in you and through you.

Erin: I love that.

God is our father

Erin: I love that God revealed himself to us in a father relationship. God is obviously relational, and this is the relationship he takes with us. He’s our Father.

I love that we all seem to have this built in. We have this longing to connect, please, and get in touch with our earthly father or heavenly Father or both. I mean, God planted this specifically for him in there, but you can see it in our world too.

I was watching some design show contest or something, and the winner had not been receiving very much support from her family, specifically from her father. She ends up winning and she says, “I can’t tell you how great it was to get that approval from my father,” who was so excited and cried when she won.

It was just this beautiful moment, and it reminded me of how important that relationship is. The thing is, we don’t have to win God’s approval. We don’t have to do anything to get it. God already loves us. He values us. He approves of us.

He made us. He takes care of us. He carries us. I think of it as that he has ownership of us, too. I have kids, I would go out of my way to help them with whatever they need. You know, that’s God, he teaches us what’s right. He disciplines us, and his love for us is like a father’s.

I was reading just the other day in The Message a section from Jeremiah in chapter 31. Listen to how this is paraphrased in The Message. “Oh, Ephraim is my dear, dear son. My child in whom I take pleasure. Every time I mentioned his name, my heart bursts with longing for him. Everything in me cries out for him, softly and tenderly I wait for him.”

This is God’s feelings about us, his children. As writers, I want to encourage us to rest in God’s love. In his Father-ness. In his approval. In his willingness to take care of us.

We can entrust ourselves to him, and we don’t have to take on the publishing industry by ourselves or really at all. We don’t. We just have to go where God tells us. Do what our Father tells us. Rest in him and let him fight our battles.

God is self-sufficient

Karen: The next attribute is that God is self-sufficient. You know, I never really thought about this until I started doing some research. Scripture tells us in Psalm 24:1, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him.” (NLT)

Think about it. God has no needs. He can’t improve. He’s already perfection in every single way. He is perfect. He created everything. He owns everything. Like Erin just said, he has ownership of us.

He has access to everything. God’s stores never run dry. God will never go to the shelves and find they aren’t overflowing with everything he has.  His grace, his love, his mercy, every treasure, every cattle on every hill, nothing will run out with God.

He is self-sufficient. We cannot add anything to who he is. He doesn’t need us, but he asks us to partake with him in ministry. To take part in him by writing his truth for a dark and lost world.

He does it not because he needs us to do those things. He does it because he loves us. He loves us so much that he wants to share us and the message through us with other people. And he loves them so much that he wants to share his truth in the way that only we can do it as writers and in telling our stories and the truths that we’ve learned about God.

God has no needs. He is self-sufficient and that tells us two very important things. Anything he asks us to do isn’t for him, for his needs, but for ours. If he has come and said to you, “I want you to write for me,” it’s what he knows is best for you. It’s what he knows you need. Whether it’s something you will encounter on that journey, whether it’s something that will happen through your books, God knows.

He asks us to do things for our own good, not for his good, but for our own good. And that’s again, because he loves us so much.

The second thing it tells us is that we can trust him to supply all our needs in every area of life. If it seems like you’re going down this path, and you’re doing all these things, and something’s just not happening or you need this or you need that, “God, I need more reviews. I need this. I need that,” just stop.

Stop in the midst of feeling as though what you have isn’t enough and look to the God who is more than enough. He will never run low on wisdom, on grace, on love. Anything that exists, God has in abundance, and he has told us that he will share that with us. But again, like I talked about at the very beginning, in the perfect time. He has you, your career, your family, everything in his hands, and he will supply every need.

Erin: Amen.

God is our forgiver

Erin: The next thing I want to mention is that God is our forgiver. He’s the one who forgives. I was reading Psalm 103 verses two and three, and it says, “Bless the Lord, oh my soul and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity…”

That got me thinking that we need to remember who we are at the core. We are actually sinners at the core. We’re forgiven sinners, but we’re sinners nevertheless.

This is the human condition, right? We like to make our own decisions and be our own god and decide what’s best for us. This is what’s been happening since Adam and Eve.

The deal is that we sinned against God in all of this. Now, yes, sometimes we’ll sin by doing or not doing something to someone else. That’s true. I’m not trying to minimize that. That’s hurtful and wrong to someone else.

But ultimately it is against God that we’ve sinned because he told us not to do that. He told us how to live. But the deal is that even while we were sinners, Christ died for us, and God forgives us.

Why do I bring all this up? It’s not to make us feel bad. It’s to help us live in the understanding of who we are and where we would be without God. It’s to help us live in meekness and in gratitude.

It’s to encourage us in this profound truth of forgiveness that was offered to us, and that we can offer that to our readers. These are the kinds of truths that we write about. This is the kind of hope that we want to offer, but we need to live in it. The more deeply that we live in it, the more deeply we can write about it.

But how can we do that if we don’t meditate? If we don’t take the time to put it in our minds and our hearts? God is our forgiver.

That should lead us to forgive others, too. We’ve said this before—people are not perfect. This industry is not perfect. Chances are very good that someone somewhere along the way is going to hurt you, and you will need to practice forgiveness. If we use our heavenly Father’s example of forgiveness, that will help us to offer forgiveness to others.

God Is Funny

Karen: The next attribute is something that I’ve known for a long time, but it never really connected in my brain. One attribute of God that I especially appreciate is that God is funny. He seriously is. He has a sense of humor and a sense of irony that I absolutely admire.

All you have to do is look at creation. Look at critters like the platypus. If God had no imagination and no sense of humor, he would not have created this thing.

Look at the dinosaurs, the way that they show they were created. Here’s this enormous tyrannosaurus rex and these short little arms. God must’ve had a really good laugh when he was creating the world and all the animals and all the different things that he did.

But you know what? I’ve been researching, Isaiah 43. I take a verse and I write it down. Then I study that verse and look at all the commentaries on it.

I came across, just a couple days ago, Isaiah 43:9. This is what Isaiah says is the message of God. That God says to everyone, all of the nations that he’s speaking to let everyone gather and all you who follow idols or other gods, witness before everyone, how they foretold something and how they told you the progression of a promise would happen, that this would happen. And then this would happen. And then this. But the thing is they can’t do that because none of their idols, none of their false gods, can either foretell the future or look back and say, “Back here, I told you this would happen. And then this, and then this,” because they don’t know the future. They don’t know what’s coming. Only our God can do that.

I found it absolutely hysterical that God was saying, “Yeah, you guys who believe these false gods and these ideas come and tell us. Witness to how they told you this would happen and then this, and then this.” They’re all just kind of standing there looking like they’ve been sucking on lemons all day long, because they can’t do it.

Then listen to this in Proverbs 4:7. This just cracks me up. It says, “The beginning of wisdom is this: get wisdom…”

It made me laugh when I read that. I ought to make a new bumper sticker “Got wisdom?” and put it on my car. I love it so much.

Then in 1 Samuel 5:1-5, the Philistines captured the ark of the covenant and they placed it in the temple of their god Dagon. Later when they came to take a look at it, they found their idle fallen face down in front of the ark.

Well, they picked up their god and brushed it off and set it there again. The next day, guess where their idol was? Face down on the ground with its hands and its head broken off. God wasn’t having it. He was making it very clear to them that he wasn’t having it. I bet you anything he was laughing when he took that idol and smashed it onto the ground.

What this teaches me is that I have to be careful not to take myself too seriously. God created us, and he created our need for laughter. And he created our sense of humor.

We need to be able to laugh at ourselves. We need to be able to laugh with others. We need to be able to see the humorous things all around us, because we need that kind of relief in the course of these very difficult days that we’re facing.

Our God has led the way for us. He has a sense of humor. He has a sense of irony, and we need to have the same as we follow him.

God is the great physician

Erin: The next attribute is that God is the Great Physician. God made us. He formed us in the womb, and he knows every intricacy of how our bodies work. Our bodies are marvelous, intricate machines. It’s so amazing.

Now, modern medicine is great. But there are still so many unknowns. I have fibromyalgia. That’s a problem with my brain processing pain, but no one knows how that happens, or why that happens.

I’ve got this new medication that my doctor put me on for fybro. I was reading about this medication and they’re like, “Well, it does this, but we don’t know why that works.”

I’m just like, “That’s scary.”

I have chronic insomnia, too. I can’t sleep. Why? That’s unknown. That’s just straight up unknown.

But God knows. God sees, and God does heal us. I mentioned Psalm 103:2-3 earlier, but I didn’t read all of verse three. It says, “Who forgives all your inequity, who heals all your diseases.”

That’s our God. Sometimes he heals us quickly. You might have a headache or a cold or some other virus and it goes away. Or sometimes there’s a miraculous healing. I’ve known people that this has happened to. The cancer just disappears. That’s great. It’s a miracle.

Sometimes he heals slowly. I had mono in college, and it took weeks to recover from. Sometimes our healing isn’t realized until heaven. Maybe he brings us home through the illness or disease.

Sometimes we struggle with chronic issues until heaven. Like I said, I have this fibromyalgia, I still have chronic fatigue episodes and insomnia. But while we live, he gives us grace to cope, and in our weakness, he’s shown strong. He gets the glory.

Someday we’ll have a new and glorious body with no pain and no weariness and no problems. But for now, we trust. We just trust.

I know there are a lot of writers out there suffering from medical issues. You can check out some of our previous episodes because we’ve talked to a lot of writers who do struggle with this. They have great words of wisdom and great encouragement.

But remember that your chronic issues or your sudden issues are no surprise to God. He will walk with you through it. He will. He will never leave you. He knows every molecule in your body. He knows every hurt and every worry, and he, as your Great Physician will take care of you.

Karen: Isn’t it good to know that this God who we’ve heard about all our lives, this God who we’ve decided to trust for our salvation, that there’s so much about him that we still can learn?

We humans have a habit of taking people for granted. Of loving people, but we see them all the time, and so we don’t think much about who they really are and what really moves them, and how special they are.

We sometimes do that with God. We take him for granted. But we can remedy that. We can sit down and look in Scripture. We can talk to God and learn from him about who he is and his many attributes. As you listen to this podcast, and as you think about it later, ask God to show you what facet of his personality, what characteristic, what attribute he wants you to think about and ponder on today. And then do it, because I’ll tell you, there’s nobody who’s more worth your time.

Erin: Amen.

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THANK YOU!

Thanks to all our patrons on Patreon! You help make this podcast possible!

Special thanks to our June sponsor of the month, Bobbi Updegraff. Bobbi has been traveling to Honduras every year since 2000 to volunteer with Renacer, a ministry for children. One of the things they do is provide scholarships to abused and abandoned kids. Bobbi’s had the pleasure of watching these kids grow up in the Lord, get an education, pursue careers, and make a difference in their country. You can find out about how you can help with scholarships at their website: friendsofrenacer.com.

Many thanks also to the folks at Podcast P.S. for their fabulous sound editing!

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3 comments

  1. Patti Iverson says:

    Terrific thoughts, message, GOD! Thanks to all 3 of you! And blessings on your packing up to move, dear Karen~! Now, along with God, find the humor in the packing and moving–cuz YOU KNOW God’s gonna find stuff to laugh at and with you about it all~. I love you, friend!

  2. God’s timing is perfect is a great story. We get our nickers in a knot over ‘our’ need for God to show up in our timing. He wants us at peace so the world can ask why in the midst of stress we walk in peace. It gives us opportunity to point to Him.
    Thanks.

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