Personal God - Rebecca Hoverd
Updated: Aug 13, 2018
Our first guest contributor, Rebecca Hoverd, unpacks her journey of opening up and discovering the God who is deeply and personally involved in our lives.
As followers of Jesus, we are blessed to worship a God that we can have a personal, intimate relationship with. A God that is so present for us all the time, and at any time that we turn to Him.
I accept and believe this, but it's something I struggle to live out practically. As I learn more about God and His character through Scripture and conversations, I have come to the realisation that there are aspects to God I can never truly comprehend due to who He is, God, and who I am, a mere human. I question: does God really know me? Does He have time for me? Does He see what I am doing and struggling with? How can He when there are so many other people to attend to? Why should I have significance to him?
These questions plague me at times when my self-esteem is low and I feel distant from God. My personal struggles are only exacerbated by the individualistic lives that Western society tells us we should live. One of the hardest parts of leaning into a personal God is giving up the part of ourselves that is selfish, that tells us we can do it on our own. When we are not pursuing God’s rhythm, we can fall into these moments of isolation and low self-worth, and succumb to the stress of trying to conform to the way of the world.
But truly I needn’t be so concerned or unsure of God’s power and nature. Tuning into His Word reveals how deeply personally He knows us.
Does He see what I am doing and struggling with? How can He, when there are so many other people to attend to? Why should I have significance to him?
Psalm 139 has been a source of affirmation and encouragement for many years. In its entirety it is a beautiful passage, describing the intimacy in which God our Creator knows us, starting with this:
You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
It goes on to describe that our thoughts are not really comparable to the way of God’s.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
Even this provides comfort that there is more beyond the trivial concerns of daily life in the world.
And in what are possibly my favourite verses, 13 and 14; though I have yet to really deeply grasp the reality of it.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s
I praise you because I am fearfully and
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
God knows our inmost being. He was there when we were the smallest organism and knew us then too. There is not another being that knows us so intimately. How wonderful, then, is it knowing that same being is the most powerful, loving and all-knowing? Is that not strengthening? Is that not enough to enable us to pursue a life lived in the rhythm of God?
John 10 contains the words of Jesus, the Good Shepherd. If I have read over Psalm 139 and still feel unsure of how personal God is to me, then Jesus’ own words surely provide comfort:
"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep ... My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." John 10:14; 27.
Jesus, the Good Shepherd, knows us, His sheep. He lays down his life for us. What a gift. He knows us in all our sinfulness, and yet, He loves us. He pursues us. He even lays down His own life so that, through Him, we may have the opportunity to be with our Father.
I have been hesitant in being truly vulnerable with my Father as I wrestle with understanding how He can attend to my needs, thanksgivings, or thoughts when there are millions of believers sharing their own hearts with Him. How can He know me intimately, when there’s several billion other people currently in conversation with Him at the same time? Doesn’t it make you wonder? My simple human mind cannot fathom how this plays out. But God is outside of the time that I live in. He's the author of this book, not bound to its pages. He doesn’t need a moment as I know it as a human. He is the present.
When I mull over the Scripture that reveals God’s power and works, and contemplate the difference between my knowledge and His higher knowledge, I wonder why I need to worry or feel isolated. God our Creator who made us, knows our innermost being, has all of eternity to consider our prayers and has a perfect rhythm of peace and power for us to pursue.
Rebecca is a law and arts student at the University of Auckland. She is one of RHYTHM's readers, and being close friends of the publishers', we were stoked to hear her thoughts. This is a space for anyone to join in the conversation! Comment down below, meet us at church to chat, or submit your own article. What has God been up to in your life? Kōrero with us.