Holding onto my own ideas about God is arrogance, to exchange them for God's truth is life! A few years ago, I experienced this trade in a very real way and it forever changed my relationship with God.
You see, I love flowers and I once had a beautiful little flower garden. Naturally, I frequented our neighborhood greenhouse, where I first laid eyes on…a Siberian Iris! I was stunned by its deep amethyst color and intricate petal detail. At once, I wanted these flowers for my garden, but knowing I couldn't afford them, I walked away and consoled myself by saying aloud, "If the God of the Universe wanted me to have Siberian Irises, He'd get them for me…right?"
A few days later, my neighbor stood in my yard with a box in her arms. She said, "I can't possibly use all these plants -- would you like them? They're called Siberian Irises."
This was more of a coincidence than I could explain away and I had to ask myself, "Did the God of the Universe just send me flowers?" If so, that meant I was dealing with a God far more intimate than I ever imagined. This, however, didn't fit within my ideas about God, so I dismissed the thought. But God persisted.
Slowly, the Holy Spirit began to bring verses to my mind that reminded me of what the Bible says abut God's character…
…as a giver: "Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4
…as a father who's goodness far surpasses any earthly parent: "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" Matthew 7:11…as a God who is intimately involved in the events of this world: "…not one [sparrow] will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care." Matthew 10:29
I wrestled all this until I finally surrendered my own thinking and accepted the truth that it was not outside of God's character to send me flowers. But why would God indulge me? Because He wanted get my attention -- to speak to my heart and teach me things about His character that I didn't understand. As I began to pray about it and search scripture for God's truth, I began to relate to God, not as distant being, but as a God who knows me, cares deeply for me and desires to be in close relationship with me. It's this intense relationship to which I bring my struggles, my fears, my sin, indecision and joys -- and my life is forever changed by His love, truth and grace.
I've moved on from my gardening days but I've kept my Siberian Irises -- a visual of God's deeply personal character. I still think they're beautiful …but I find the intimate, loving nature of their Creator breathtaking!