Have you ever stayed up way too late reading a good book? You know, those stories where the characters seem to come alive and practically jump off the page? You can picture each one vividly and envision the landscape all around them as if it were painted on a canvas in front of you. That happened to me recently. I was so engaged in the book that time seemed to stand still and before I knew it, it was 1:00 am!
If you’ve ever been consumed by a good book like that, you know that by the end of the story, you can almost begin to predict what the characters will say and do. They feel more like familiar friends than just words on a page. And while there may be plot twists and turns, if the author is good, the nature of the characters is consistent throughout the entire book.
As Christians, sometimes it can feel challenging to get to know the character of God as well as we know some of the characters in our favorite books. I’ll admit, sitting down to read the whole Bible can feel intimidating. It can seem impossibly long and in many places downright confusing, but ultimately, the Bible is a book that reveals the very nature of God. From beginning to end, the Bible is a story of God’s tireless and unfailing love for us, and His willingness to stop at nothing to secure our future with Him.
It is through the pages of the Bible, and especially through the life of Jesus, that we see God’s character unfold. We can see it in the way Jesus interacts with people and loves them. We can taste the dust in the air as the crowds shuffle and press in to see Jesus heal another person in desperate need of a miracle. We can smell the salty sea and feel the mist on our faces when Jesus walks on water toward the disciples and pulls Peter up from the waves. We can witness how Jesus turns society upside down, elevating the lowly and championing the marginalized. It’s thrilling when we notice that He is calling people to more than mere survival, He’s inviting them to live abundantly as citizens of God’s Kingdom. And it’s humbling the moment we realize that we are invited to that same abundant Kingdom-life too.
In Romans 15:4 we read that “everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.”
The Bible was written to help shape us and to give us hope! As we spend time in God’s Word, we begin to know Him better, and we see His character unfold in the scriptures. Before long, we begin to recognize glimpses of Him working in our lives all around us, because we recognize Him. This, my friend, is tangible hope.
It’s a hope that is perceptible, we can reach out and grab it and feel it and experience it because our relationship with God is a real one. We are not talking about placing our hope in a pleasant thought, nice idea, or imaginary friend, but in the one true and living God who sees you, and loves you, even as you’re reading this sentence.
The word remember means to relive, hold dear, to know by heart. When we keep the truth of God’s character close, we can know Him by heart and look back to see how He has worked in the past and is working now in our lives. Remembering God’s character grounds us in truth and gives us a hope that we can hold on to.
There are reminders about who God is throughout Scripture:
God is…Love (1 John 4:8)
God is…Holy (1 Peter 1:15)
God is…Steady and unchanging (Hebrews 13:8)
God is…a promise keeper (2 Peter 3:9)
God is…strong enough to carry you (Isaiah 41:10)
God is…the Redeemer (Psalm 103, John 3:17)
God is…Creator of all things (Isaiah 40:28)
God is…Giver of all that is good (James 1:17)
God is…perfect and true (Psalm 18:30)
God is…present in our circumstances (Isaiah 41:8-10, Matthew 28:20)
God promises that if we when seek Him with our whole heart, we will find Him. He won’t hide, he wants you to find Him. He’s been pursuing you all along.
So take a little time this week to learn more about the character of God. If you need a place to start, pick one of the verses or stories in this devotional. Ask God to show you His love that is woven throughout Scripture, and to help you see where He is working in your life. As you spend time with Him, you will begin to know Him by heart, recognize His handiwork, and experience the tangible hope we have in God.