I love going to the Oregon coast. love the power and beauty and sense of God’s creative genius that surrounds me when I’m there. Ever since I was little, I’ve looked on the ocean as a friend, even played tag with the water as it came in, daring it to wash over my bare feet, running when it got close, laughing when it caught me. (Yes, I still do this.) Recently, though, while at the coast, I was struck by the fact that not everyone experiences the coast the same way. I know, an obvious thing, but it just never occurred to me before. Some of the folks walking the beaches did so with knee-high boots, willing to let the surf catch them but clearly not wanting to get their feet wet. Others walked high up on the beach, removing any chance of being touched by the salty water. Some walked with brisk steps, as though they were focused on a goal, maybe not even seeing the beauty around them. Others ambled, leaning down to pick up various treasures and slip them into a pocket or bag. Still others didn’t walk at all. They just sat, some in chairs they’d brought, others on driftwood logs.
As I took all this in, I thought about the challenge of writing about the ocean. About sharing my experience of it in a way that can impact readers who don’t view the ocean as I do. And then, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, my thoughts turned to writing about God. My experience of God is colored by my experience of my parents and their love for Him. Because I experienced my parents as loving and tender and just awe-inspiring, I have no trouble seeing and experiencing God in that way as well. All that is good and true and just in God was lived out for me, day by day, in my precious Mom and Dad. And while there are those who share that experience of God with me, just as many—probably even more—don’t.
So the challenge for us as we write, then, is this: how do we write about God, about living for Him and growing in our knowledge of and faith in Him, about loving and trusting in Him, in such a way that reveals Him to those with differing views or experiences? How do we show who God is in ways that will speak even to those who have very different experiences from ours? Is it even possible?
What do you think?