The other day, I walked into a highly-triggery situation that totally could have gone south. But instead, it turned into a powerful God encounter. I came to KNOW Him in a new facet of his nature—as the Prince of Peace.
So many triggery variables were floating around in that environment and the whole time I felt safe in the eye of what could have been a bad storm, completely at peace.
I knew going into the situation that it was WAY out of my comfort zone, so I simply told God, “I trust you.” I’m not going to overthink this or work myself into a tizzy worrying about all of the things that could go wrong. “I know I’m safe in you.”
This was a HUGE change of direction for me.
I’m usually the queen of overthinking and planning ahead for unexpected contingencies. I love to overanalyze and plan backup strategies for just about everything. But I didn’t this time. Instead, I chose to enter the situation through a different door: Trust.
I had no backup plan.
Trust is not an easy option that a person can choose by sheer will. It is an experience-based belief. It is grown over time through an intimate relationship. And KNOWING God’s nature and character enough to trust Him takes time—as does any other relationship in our lives.
The key to knowing God in this way is found in the Hebrew word YADA.
YADA means experiential knowledge. It denotes intimacy. It takes time. It takes a daily experience of walking with Him to find out what He is like. It’s a lifelong discovery process.
“The people who KNOW (YADA) their God shall be strong and do great exploits.”
It isn’t those that know ABOUT their God. It is those who YADA (experientially know) their God. It is those that have a history of spending intimate time getting to know His nature and character.
But how do we know that we KNOW God in that YADA way?
I believe we begin to know God experientially when we can recognize His voice and heart in just about any given situation. When we are able to differentiate the truths of His nature from other falsities and dissenting voices.
Let me paint a different picture for you.
Let’s say you are talking to an acquaintance and he brings up a mutual friend—someone you dearly love and have known well for years. And he mentions something that your friend said or did that doesn’t ring true to you. So you question it, “She said THAT? She did THAT?”
Because you just know: “No way. This isn’t accurate. Something is twisted here because I KNOW my friend and she would NEVER do that.”
This is what it is meant to look like in our relationship of knowing God. We are meant to KNOW Him in such a way that we recognize in any situation what IS and ISN’T of His nature.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep KNOW me.”
I used to be a little irritated by this verse, because it seemed to imply an automatic ability that a person received upon first meeting God—one that I didn’t seem to have. But it’s actually not instantaneous. The word Ginōskō is used here and it means “to come to learn, know, recognize.”
We come to LEARN His voice over time.
Meeting God and letting Him into our hearts just means that we have opened the channel for that communication to flow. We still need to quiet ourselves to listen and learn. We are all surrounded by so many voices that beckon for our attention. And His is the quietest voice. It will take some fine-tuning to hear His particular frequency.
So much in the Christian Culture today cries out for microwave results. I want to do this NOW! I want to hear Him NOW! I want the fruit of the spirit NOW!
But fruit is grown. Seeds are grown. The importance of process is highlighted all throughout Scripture in multiple metaphors, because God uses ovens more often than microwaves in our spiritual journeys. He likes things to bake a while.
KNOWING Him takes time.
Lately, God has been taking me through all sorts of odd situations that are outside of my comfort zone, just to show me new aspects of His character. Each one causes me to YADA Him in a new way. My experience base with Him continues to grow. The partial becomes fuller.
Another example recently transpired with my mistake in a social situation that brought me some heat. I was embarrassed and publicly shamed in front of a bunch of people for an accidental breaking of a rule. But in that shaming moment, I actually felt God take the heat on my behalf. I didn’t experience my usual shame storm. The physical responses of the warm wash of shame and fear that my body usually manifests didn’t happen. And I got massively set free in an instant from a deeply-embedded childhood fear.
It was a beautiful moment of freedom and new YADA knowing.
I came to KNOW God in that moment as my Rescuer, my Protector, the One who has my back no matter what. And He explained the situation to me this way, “Are you willing to let me throw you in the fire so that you can see that I will protect and rescue you?”
God wanted to set me free from something that had plagued me for years. But it took things heating up 7x to set me free from those particular chains, and to YADA Him in yet another facet of His nature. It reminded me a lot of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
It was a holy moment that I will forever treasure in my heart.
God is an opportunist. He will use whatever challenging situations are in our lives right now to bring us to a greater understanding of Him. And with each new piece of the pie that we assimilate into our YADA God database—we will grow stronger.
We will grow stronger.
We will do great exploits.
So which piece of the God pie is missing from your life? Where are you lacking in your YADA knowledge of Him?
As Father? Deliverer? Counsellor? Protector? Provider? Prince of Peace? Lion of Judah?
Ask God for eyes to see which aspect of His nature He is revealing to you in your current situation.
Because no matter how long we have known Him, none of us has arrived in our YADA knowing. We live in partial times. The fullness is yet to come.
“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).
“But the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits” (Daniel 11:32).
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me…” (John 10:14)
“And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12).