There is an element of God’s relationship with man that should be extraordinarily compelling, but doesn’t necessarily seem so in our society. I’m speaking of the lengthy historical record of God’s reaching out to mankind contained, primarily, in scripture but also in apocryphal texts and the writings of many saints and holy men and women. Even if we dismiss these writings as uninspired and purely the products of humans, the recurring theme of God’s reaching out to us is remarkably pervading.
It’s meaningful that this theme should be so timeless. It may be true that it endures throughout time because we so strongly desire it to be true, but my thought is that it comes from somewhere – it has a source placed within us that is more than psychological. It transcends psychology. We not only want to know but we actually do know with something more profound than intelligence that we are being sought. This inclination is so primal that we are compelled to express it. This is one sense in which scripture is “inspired.” Everything we describe about our relationship with God has historically been based on His reaching out to us. We are His people. He is our God.
The historical scriptural record of our responses is not so easy! It’s as if God’s reaching out for us is enough – as if God’s desire to touch us is all that’s needed. Can one picture the hand of God reaching out to touch man as depicted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and man’s hand being balled into a fist? God wishes us to complete the connection. If the instinct we have that God reaches out to touch us does not move us to reach out to Him, then this point is moot. We say that God can do anything, but He cannot make us love Him, accept Him, or believe in Him. Yet He still reaches out to us to try.