Friday, February 10, 2017

The Eternal Quest to Know God


As cited in my first blog, John 17:3 reads:. “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” As I grew up in a family that very faithfully attended the Methodist Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois I had the utmost respect for our pastor and our many dear friends who attended with us. Although as children we may have complained about arriving early, I have fond memories of those who sang solos and our pastor’s sermons, to name a couple of the many cherished experiences I witnessed. We were early because our father was an usher and needed to be early to greet fellow members & give them a program.

There was a pattern or order to our weekly worship service which included a responsive reading, the collective reciting of our affirmation of faith, singing hymns, musical numbers by one of the designated soloists and, of course, a sermon by the pastor. Again, I cherished my association with those who attended with us. I truly felt their love. I was younger than 8 during these years in Glen Ellyn which bordered Wheaton where we lived.

Even though I did not understand the affirmation we recited, the spirit I felt in the worship service seemed to satisfy me. I kept my questions to myself out of respect for those people. After all, I was only 6 or 7 years old. What could I possibly know at such a young age? Once, I had the courage to ask a youth pastor about the trinity and he responded that we need to accept it on faith. I really looked forward to Sundays and I so much appreciated the faithfulness of my parents that I brushed aside trying to understand this affirmation of faith.

However, the feeling did not go away.  As I grew older and became more knowledgeable of the scriptures, several passages seemed to conflict with this idea of God being three in one.  Some of those scriptures are:(!.) The baptism of Jesus Christ by John The Baptist; (2.) The vision Stephen had of God and Jesus Christ when he was stoned to death; (3.) The Garden of Gethsemanee experience; just to name a few.  All three of those scriptures seemed to point to the idea of distinct personages rather than three in one.  Also, in John we read of the Savior praying to His Father in Heaven.  How can He be praying to himself? And if our life eternal depends on this, why am I accepting the Idea of “Three in One” on faith?  Independent of these three passages, the whole idea of his physical birth, his resurrection and his death on the cross point to a physical being.  We read in Genesis that we were created in the image of God.  

So let me bring you up to the year 1966 in Eugene, Oregon.  I started meeting with the missionaries as i have already explained.  They were teaching me about a God who does have a body of flesh and bones.  Yes, I am really praying to someone in whose image I was created.  There is no longer a mystery about who I am praying to.  He loves me and knows who I am.  He loves us so much that He made the great sacrifice of allowing His Son to come to this world and die for us.  He and His Son went through an incomprehensible amount of pain out of their love for us.  Yes, the pieces of the puzzle were starting to come together.  I now began to understand that gaining a knowledge of God and Jesus Christ is a lifetime quest or journey.

As we offer heartfelt prayers, we get closer to understand who God, Our Father In Heaven is and who is Our Savior, Jesus Christ.  As we pour our heart out to Him, that knowledge begins to grow.  Yes, we slip from time to time and can come back to correct our course from those unwise choices we make. Through Our Savior’s atonement we have the opportunity to repent.  

I come back to the scripture at the beginning in John.  Through our experiences in this mortal journey, we learn from our mistakes as well as those moments of ecstasy.  We learn which is the better road to take.  Is it the one that makes us sad or happy?  What is interesting about this is the happy moments seem to bring us closer to God and His Son thus we are getting to know them a little better.  The more good choices we make the more we get to know Him.  It is as if He is saying: “I know I could trust you”.or, “ Thank you for making the right choice.”

This knowledge of God and Jesus Christ opened my spiritual eyes to the fact that I am a winner as well as a sinner.  Yes, I make mistakes and am far from perfect, but I truly have been created in the image of God.  He is there everyday to tutor me if I will listen to what He is telling me.  Those whispers, those “aha” moments and feelings of peace will come as I pray in faith.  They may not come all at once but they will come. Our pleadings for answers may take some time but we are on His timetable not ours. We are getting answers to our prayers according to His will not ours. Little by little I am being tutored and am beginning to feel the joy He feels when one of His children finally catches on to what true joy is all about.  That true joy comes as we lift others, as we show we care, as we live what Our Savior has so beautifully taught us in His sacred scriptures.  Yes, it is true: And this is life eternal to know God and Jesus Christ

I will continue on this topic on the next blog focusing on a great misunderstanding of the LDS faith among many Christians dealing specifically with Jesus Christ.

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