HOW CAN WE MEET GOD?
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1) Many people are wondering about this without knowing where or how to meet God. Whenever I ask church-goers if they have ever met God, they say that they met Him when they were cured of a disease, when they saw something strange in their dreams, or when they felt they had some kind of moving experience. They each met God in a different way. But, what is the Word talking about when it tells us how to meet Him?
John 1 says that the Word is God. All parts of the Word stand for the character and the will of God. That's why meeting Him in the Word is the best way to meet the true God. By analogy, when we make friends with someone, it is not possible to know everything about them. The more we meet and the closer we become, the more we come to know them. Without the first meeting, however, it is impossible to know them at all. The same formula could be applied to the relationship between God and us. We have to meet Him first in our hearts and get to know Him more and more through fellowship with Him. The first meeting should be also made through the Word because He placed the way in the Word.
Without knowing this fact, people are trying to meet Him in other ways. Through speaking with tongues, they try to believe that they have met God. When they shed tears over something that moves them, they think they have met Him. But all those things are only momentary and cannot lead to continuous fellowship with God. Only through the Word we can meet Him.
I met Him myself in the Word when I was an army officer. I taught and led the choir and Bible study at the camp church. One day on my way to work, I came across a man who asked me if I was born again. I had known him since I met him at the meeting of 'the night of a grain of wheat', where he had played the saxhorn. I said 'Yes' and told him how it had happened, but he said that I was not born again. Because he had spoken of something I had never heard about, I asked about him as soon as I arrived at my office. A friend of mine advised me to be careful of him, saying that he was going to the church of 'the righteous'. Those days I was teaching students that we were sinners, and used to sing the hymn 'A sinner thanks God'. I was all gooseflesh at the sound of 'the righteous'.
But I decided to discuss it with the man because I had gotten to know that the pastor of the church he attended also had a broadcast ministry. When I listened to his sermon on the radio, it shook my belief. At that time, I was troubled since I had heard in a sermon from my pastor that we should prepare for heaven. I was not sure if I could go to heaven. One of those days, I raised the courage to ask my pastor how I could go to heaven. To my surprise, he said to me, "I thought you, Mr. Kim, had such good faith." I had asked the question despite my shame, only to get such a meaningless answer. And I fell into even deeper doubt of my faith. I agonized over whether I could be lifted when Jesus came back, thinking the day was close at hand. About a month after the man asked if I was born, I visited his church with him. But because I couldn't still accept the word 'the righteous' I picked out verses saying there was no one righteous such as "There is none righteous, no, not one," and remembered all of them to make as my weapon when I argued with him. I wrote them down on a small pieces of paper in case I forgot. As soon as our argument started, I told him what I had been preparing for about an hour without giving him any chance to talk.
In the middle of my attack, I heard someone say, "He doesn't know what he's talking about. He should just be quiet and listen." I was so absorbed in my talking that I didn't notice anyone else there. One of two women who were peeling garlic nearby had spoken. The moment I saw them, I lost my train of thought and had to stop. Then the man, who had been listening to me without a word, opened his Bible and began to talk. He placed his Bible before me, upside down for him, and read from it, occasionally glancing at me, and not making any mistakes at all. It amazed me, because I used to stammer when I read the Bible even right side up. He even found the verses he wanted without flipping back and forth. He could, with such ease, found the verses that I had tried to find. I checked his Bible to see if he had marked only those verses, but there were lines all over the Bible. It doesn't seem surprising to me now since I have read the Bible so many times. However, it seemed something incredible, and I thought he was a 'doctor of the Bible'.