Henri Nouwen writes, “How do we know about God’s love, God’s generosity, God’s kindness, God’s forgiveness?”
It’s a good question but I’m a little hung up on the word “about.” I’d like to add this: The purpose of knowing about God is to move us increasingly closer to Him until we know Him. He longs for us to know Him in an intimate way so that we recognize we’re in His presence and we love and enjoy Him. And He loves and enjoys us.
It’s not just knowing about, it’s knowing.
Here’s a little human illustration. I knew about an actor who stars in Hallmark movies. And then, thanks to a certain school and two specific students, I have gotten to know that man. And I’m here to tell you there’s a lot of difference between knowing about and knowing. (He has even given me a hug!)
So, let’s go back to getting to know God:
We have any number of ways to hear about Him. One is to read and study the Bible.
Another way is to go to church.
And we can come to know about God through people. Here Nouwen points out the roles people play: “Through our parents, or friends, our teachers, our pastors, our spouses, our children—they all reveal God to us,” he writes.
This is where Nouwen’s illustration of a mosaic comes in—a pattern or design comprised of varying colors of small tiles, stones, glass, or paper which, skillfully pieced together, create a work of art.
Nouwen compares such a mosaic to the way humans discover God.
“A mosaic consists of thousands of little stones,” Nouwen writes. “Some are blue, some are green, some are yellow, some are gold.
“When we bring our faces close to the mosaic, we can admire the beauty of each stone.
“But,” he continues, “as we step back from it, we can see that all these little stones reveal to us a beautiful picture, telling a story none of these stones can tell by itself.” (Bread for the Journey)
That’s the story of you.
God brought all those "stones," those people
into your life so they’d point you toward Him.
How amazing is that?!
Through countless encounters with countless people—through
- work experiences,
- books, movies,
- serendipitous opportunities,
- health struggles,
- Bible studies,
- friends of friends, (even Facebook and Instagram),
- doctors, scientists,
- athletes, journalists—
any and all of these little “stones,”—which together comprise your own mosaic—have made God discernable for you, real for you, relatable for you.
Those are the ones God has placed into your mosaic to help you discover His heart, His grace, His guidance, His love, His plans and purposes for you.
In Lawrence Kushner’s words, they were for you “messengers on a sacred mission.”
Here, instead of the symbol of a mosaic, Kushner writes of puzzle pieces and the ways we can be puzzle pieces in other people’s lives.
“Every now and then (from where does that thrilling and terrifying insight come upon us?), we feel compelled to act. Each one of us are (sic) messengers on a sacred mission. . . .
Each lifetime is the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
For some there are more pieces.
For others the puzzle is more difficult to assemble.
Some seem to be born with a nearly completed puzzle.
. . . You do not have within yourself
All the pieces to your puzzle. . . .
Everyone carries with them at least one and probably
Many pieces to someone else’s puzzle. . . .
And when you present your piece . . .
To another, whether you know it or not,
Whether they know it or not,
You are a messenger from the Most High.”
(Lawrence Kushner, Eyes Remade for Wonder)
Think about the people God used
to point you to Himself.
Thank Him for those dear folks!
Consider how you might include them in your memoir.
Or, here's an idea:
Think about writing an entire memoir
based on the people God placed in your "mosaic."
He could use you as "a messenger from the Most High."
Just think about that!