How Does God Appear to You?


As Christmas approaches, I write you personally about knowing God. Personally. Intimately.

Some children see Him lily white,
The baby Jesus born this night.
Some children see Him lily white,
With tresses soft and fair.
Some children see Him bronzed and brown,
The Lord of heav’n to earth come down.
Some children see Him bronzed and brown,
With dark and heavy hair.

Some children see Him almond-eyed,
This Savior whom we kneel beside.
Some children see Him almond-eyed,
With skin of yellow hue.
Some children see Him dark as they,
Sweet Mary’s Son to whom we pray.
Some children see him dark as they,
And, ah! they love Him, too!

The children in each different place
Will see the baby Jesus’ face
Like theirs, but bright with heavenly grace,
And filled with holy light.
O lay aside each earthly thing
And with thy heart as offering,
Come worship now the infant King.
‘Tis love that’s born tonight!

Some Children See Him, Alfred Burt

Do you remember Q in Star Trek? So far beyond human understanding, that he appears in human form because that’s a form humans can understand! That’s what Q claims, anyway.

God is even farther beyond human understanding than Q. How would he possibly come to us so that we could understand him? I wrote about my two unrelated friends, Kacey and Becca, who were molested violently and repeatedly by pastors in their church. Both are asked often why they still believe in God. And both recount personal experiences as little girls when God was manifestly present to them, visibly, personally present, in a way they could never forget. They certainly had recovery work to do, anger to express and self-worth issues to heal. But their personal experiences of God no one could take away.

Did you experience God as a child? Did you have a personal interaction with him that formed how you see him? I did. As quite a young girl, I was drawn to God, I talked to him, and he made himself known to me. My family had no formal religious training, so I never learned of a harsh God just waiting for me to mess up. Instead I enjoyed interacting with a big, amazing God who was kind enough to be friends with a little girl. Beautiful.

God has presented himself throughout history in ways we could relate to him. He approached Adam (who lived in the garden) by walking with him in the garden. He approached Abram (who was a nomad) by walking up to his tent like a nomad. David (a shepherd) called God the good shepherd. In the time of the kings, God appeared as a king. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, was a patriarchal God to the patriarchs. And to that patriarchal society, he was male… though the bible contains many images of God as female. (I refer to God as “he” and “him,” — though God is male and female. I just don’t know what other pronoun to use! So please just bear with me.)

For us to be able to relate to God, he has to appear to us in a way we can relate. He wants to commune with us, not scare us to pieces!

This is not to say we have created God in our image. On the contrary, our relational God initiated relationship with us, his creation, by reaching out to us in a way we can understand him without completely freaking out.

Has God made himself known to you? How have experienced him? Lay aside what others may have said about your experience of God being wrong. After all, it’s your experience. What has God shown you that you know is true, no matter what you hear to the contrary? Because our experience of God is extremely important.

If your thoughts are mixed with negatives, impossibilities, not-good-enoughs, that is not an accurate picture of God. (He says, Come to me ALL who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.) In another post we’ll look at why we have those negative perceptions and where they come from.

But for now, I invite you to remember the positive ways God has shown his love and presence to you personally and intimately. Soak that in. Let him love you. Let him approve of you. Embrace the God who loves you and accepts you and embraces you. You. Not the cleaned up and perfected you…. just little ol’ you. 

If you cannot recall that experience, please ask him for it. Ask him to show you his unconditional love and acceptance. I encourage you to ask boldly because that’s who he is, and he is eager for you to know him like that.

God is loving and present and true. Ask him to show himself to you in a way you can relate, that you won’t forget. No one will ever convince Kacey or Becca—or me—that our personal experiences of God are not real. Because we were there, and he made sure we knew him.

If you see him “lily white,” “bronzed and brown,” or “almond-eyed” (as the song says), God loves you. If you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, God loves you. If you’ve made lots of mistakes, God loves you. No conditions. No waiting for the other shoe to drop. God loves you. Period. My wish for you, for a Christmas present to you, is to show you how much God loves you, and that you are good enough exactly as you are. 

2 thoughts on “How Does God Appear to You?

  1. Probably the most powerful instance of God proving Herself to me was when I was healed instantly of a very intense trip on LSD. When it turned into a “bad trip,” and I was feeling pretty desperate, I opened my Bible at random and began to read it. The words were swimming on the page, but I struggled to make them out. It was the story of Jacob’s ladder, but I think it could have been almost anything. I kept reading and reaching out to God, and suddenly I could see clearly, and the effects of the drug were gone. I felt, instead, along with 100% sober, a great peace, and as if my body were full of light.

    So, yeah, anyone would have a really tough time convincing me that God isn’t real. But I don’t really see Her as white or brown or male or female or anything, I just see Her as spiritual light and love. And I use different pronouns for Him depending on the situation, or just at whim.

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