A couple years back there was a tragic death in my life that got me to thinking a lot about God’s character and His image. I had been teaching a young teenage girl who has Autism and when her mother passed away unexpectedly, it was devastating. I was able to attend the funeral and, as you can image, it was an emotional experience to say the least. There were points where I could not control the sadness in my heart and no one was expecting me to.
However, what really blew my mind was when I got to see the teenager who I had been teaching. To understand the situation you must know that this young girl is non-vocal and sometimes has challenges in picking up emotions of others. However when I entered the room, tears filling my eyes, she saw me. She calmly walked over to me, wiped my cheeks off, hugged me and signed “Thank you.” In that moment we communicated more than we ever had before. She saw my hurt, and even though she was hurting too, she chose to take on mine as well.
It was then when I saw Christ’s image all over this young girl. In our pain, even when Christ has so much pain himself, He takes on ours because He loves us that much. Had I not chosen to see Christ’s image in this young girl, I would have missed an interaction with the Father.
When I think about this interaction it makes me think about how many other times we accidentally silence the voice of God or ignore Him because we are unwilling to see the people around us. God has created us all in His image, in some form or fashion (Genesis 1:27). Furthermore, we were all created as a body that forms Christ. 1 Corinthians 12 talks about how we are unified as the Body through Christ. However, what I love most about this is when we see how God formed the body. “But in fact God has placed the parts of the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be” (1 Corinthians 12:18). He placed us each where He wanted us to be with the giftings and understandings He wanted us to have.
To give this an image Justo Gonzalez writes about God as a mountain and all of his people at the base of the mountain. So let’s image this, God is a beautiful mountain and we are all at its base staring up at God’s image. Each person at the base, as you can image, has a different vantage point of the image of God. Thus, there is no possible way for you to have the same view of God as anyone around you. Even if you are overlapping each other, you are still seeing something different about the mountain because you cannot be in the exact spot as someone else at any given time, its impossible. Thus, how can we gain a bigger view of the mountain you ask? When we speak to the people around us and gain insight into the depth of God’s image that they see, and we are unable to at the moment.
When I spoke with that young teenager at the funeral I saw an image of God I had never experienced before. When I choose to step out of my safe place where everyone around me sees God from a similar perspective, I gain a greater view of who God is. When we travel to other countries, sometimes we see God from the complete other side of the mountain. He may look completely different in some respects, but it is not because He changed, it is because He has allowed us to change our vantage point. These experiences of how we interact with those around us at the base of the mountain can be some of the most incredible times where we amplify our experience of Christ. It just takes the courage to see and hear people who we sometimes would ignore due to their differences from us. I challenge you to experience God in a different way, learn more about his character and His image by really seeing those who He has placed in your path and understanding a greater depth of our amazing God.