Pastors Corner


Summer is upon us, and I imagine that you, like me, have your head turned to the plethora of recreation activities available during your average Minnesota summer. I am an outdoor enthusiast and so when the weather gets nice, I start thinking about lakes and rivers and hiking and camping…pretty much anything that gets me outside. I’ve always felt connected to God through nature & my faith tells me that should come as no surprise. Scripture makes it clear that we’re supposed to see glimpses of God—our maker—in what’s He has made. Romans 1:20 tells us, “Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made….” In short, when I see a thunderstorm roll across the valley and get the sense that God is powerful, that’s what I’m supposed to know about God. When I look at a beautiful sunset and think that God loves beautiful things, I’m supposed to sense that about my Creator. God has literally woven bits of Himself into creation for us to see and recognize. Thanks be to God that He connects to us through created things!

Creation though, only tells half the story of who God is for us. A few years ago, I was playing with my kids on a beautiful river near my home in Washington State. It was spring and the river was high so we weren’t venturing too close to the shore. Until we started skipping rocks, that is. Anybody who has ever skipped a rock knows that the closer you are to the water, the better it skips. To make a long story short, my kids both kept getting closer and closer to the raging water. Eventually they got too close for comfort and I had to call them back. I told them, “That river is beautiful and strong, but it does not love you. It will sweep you away just as easily as it’ll let you skip a rock over its waves.” What’s the point? Creation is awesome, but there are certain parts of God’s story that creation can’t communicate to us. For instance, creation can’t tell you that God loves you, that God forgives you, that God is for you, or that God would die for you. Truths like that have to be revealed to us beyond what creation can communicate. That is something Christians call “special revelation.”

General revelation is Truth God reveals to us about himself “generally” in what he has made. Special revelation is Truth God reveals to us in acts that go beyond what we can understand about God through nature. For example, through the prophets, God revealed that He is for the downtrodden, the persecuted, and the exploited, not the rich and powerful. Through Abraham’s family, God revealed that He is the God of the entire universe, not just one of the world’s tribes. And through Jesus Christ, God reveals that He is for us, that He forgives us, and that He loves us beyond measure. In short, to get the full picture of who God is for us we need both general revelation and special revelation to tell the whole story. Both communicate different aspects of who God is for us.

Now why write an article about all of that during the summer? As we recreate during the summer, it’s important to also dive into the part of God’s story that nature can’t reveal to us. In whatever way you experience God’s special revelation, make that a part of your summer too. Summer is a great time to dive deep into all the ways God communicates who He is for us: through things created and through His great acts found in the story of God. Have a blessed summer.