My Wonder Studio
Growing Stronger, No. 5: God with Us
Friday, December 12, 2014

“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matthew 1:23, KJV).

Suppose I begin to talk on some abstract truth or virtue, such as heroism, and use no illustrations, no analogies, no anecdotes, what effect would I produce?

Little or nothing more than an uneasy and fearful wonder.

But instead of dealing with heroism as an abstraction, let me put it into a parable or a fairytale or tell you the story of some courageous person, like David Livingstone or Joan of Arc. At once, the shifting, indifferent wonder changes into attentive interest.

But let me go further, and instead of embodying the virtue in the story of some brave person, let the truth become reborn in a person. Let me produce the heroic personality itself, engaged in the heroic life. What will be the result? The pointless wonder that followed the vague concept will change into passionate admiration, which will ripen into love. The closer and more real our relationship with the person we love, the more beautiful will be our devotion.

Now see how this applies to the revelation of God and our relationship to Him. What was His name? “I am that I am.”

“I am that I am” is a revelation that awakens wonder and fear. There is nothing to lay hold of, nothing to lean upon.

Instead of God remaining a distant and vague form to His people, God revealed Himself in experiences that created more definite and defining names, and these names found their way into song and story. He began to be known as “Refuge,” as “Rock,” as “Tower,” as “Shield.” He came to be regarded as man’s “Shepherd,” because of the “shepherdliness” that His people experienced in His dealings with them.

And as the colors of God’s character emerged, the influences created in man’s heart become proportionately richer and more powerful.

Eventually, God removed the last vestige of abstraction. He no longer remained embodied in beautiful names and renowned in song and story. He became incarnate—a living personality.

Just think what significance this revelation in the person of Jesus had for those Jews who became His disciples. The essence of their faith was in those laws that we call the Ten Commandments. But along came Christ, and the first thing He did was to tear these miles of wrappings away. He cast aside the traditions and cried to the people, “He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me!”1

Jesus Christ lifted God out of a vague and personless form, out of dead regulations and traditions, and presented the image of the eternal glory in His own person. God was no longer a burdensome law, but a great, near, and loving personality.

1 John 12:44.

Adapted from the writings of J. H. Jowett. Illustrations by Jeremy. Design by Stefan Merour.
Copyright © 2014 by The Family International.
Tagged: god, growing stronger, relationship with the lord