How do you Picture God?

Written by Cara Shonamon
Musings of a Ministering Mother

Big-Picture_articleA friend recently asked me a deep question about God. The exact question was, “When you think about God, what comes to mind?”

It seemed such an odd question to ask a pastor, but it was a really good one. I told her that when I was a kid I had this funny image of God in my head. I pictured Him somewhere out in space, with a long white beard that touched the ground, and sitting on a three legged stool knitting. I know, I know, it is a funny image, but it had to do with God knitting things together and watching over the world. So, for a kid I think it was pretty deep.

As I reflected on this childhood image, I realized I had imagined God as distant and impersonal—someone far away and difficult to access. Perhaps even occupied with other things and too busy to spend time with me.

Have you ever felt this way? Like God was far away? Too busy to be concerned about the things you care about? That maybe even the things you are going through are not worth His time?

Sometimes we need to be reminded that God really does care for us. 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (all passages NIV unless otherwise noted).

God is inviting us to a deep relationship and joy!

I needed this reminder. I told my friend that the picture of God from childhood was not what came to mind anymore. These days, the image is of someone sitting on a park bench in what my daughters call, “their favorite park.” God is there with one arm draped on the back of the bench, face full of a big inviting smile. His eyes are fixed on me and nothing else.

I told my friend that I now see God, not as distant, but as someone inviting me to conversation. Inviting me into a deeper relationship. Inviting me to sit on a bench for a while and rest.

These past few months have been stressful, tiring, and chaotic, so when I realize God is inviting me to rest and to a deeper relationship, I find myself relieved.

That day, my friend asked one more question: “How has God been teaching you in every day life these days?”

My friend asks some really good questions!

I thought for a minute, and the first memory that came to mind was my daughters (ages 3 and 5) playing in our neighborhood pool this summer. Their laughter and joy will cause anyone to smile. I pictured God desiring that same kind of laughter and joy in His dearly loved children.

Lately, it seems, we find little to be joyful about, but Jesus said He wants His joy to be in us that our joy may be complete (Jn. 15:11). God is inviting us to a deep relationship and joy!

How do you picture God today? It was a great question for me. Maybe it’s one you would like to reflect on as well. Perhaps you, like me, need the reminder that God truly cares for you and wants to be in deep relationship with you.

I find the words of “I Cast All My Cares Upon You” from Kelly Willard helpful in these days. Also, consider this promise:

  • “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Ph. 4:6-7 ESV).

Please remember that you are dearly loved and that you can cast all your cares upon the Lord.

Cara Shonamon is co-lead pastor of Shawnee, Kansas, Church of the Nazarene.

Artwork by Amber Friel.