Theology: The study of God. In the course of our lives, we can only scratch the surface of this study. The most devoted followers never reached graduation from this school of thought. God invites us to know Him. He longs for a relationship with mankind. I know that seems vague, almost mystical. Yet it rings with a truth that I cannot ignore.

        A recent author I read refers to the “Godhead” as an expression. She calls it a particular feeling. God is not a feeling nor is He an avatar. He is a holy, separate Being. He is infinite in His wisdom, having created man for His glory and purpose. I don’t need another expression or another feeling. Inside of me, there is this deep hole, a strange yearning, that I know must be filled.

          Theology: a man, dressed simply in contrast to the garishly clothed rich men around him, reaches out his hand to write in the sand. Next to him, on her knees, is a woman, condemned, weeping, alone. Before his hand is finished tracing letters in the sand, the rich leave, rebuked by silence. The man helps the woman up and lets her go. She is forgiven and pardoned. The man is God in human form. God who wanted to know mankind on personal level. God who is more than expression or feeling. God who seeks us out. This God, my soul yearns for.

          “Other people affected Jesus deeply; obstinacy frustrated him, self-righteousness infuriated him, simple faith thrilled him. Indeed, he seemed more emotional and spontaneous than the average person, not less. More passionate, not less.” –Phillip Yancey, “The Jesus I Never Knew” This is the Jesus I want to know. This is the God that I want to get closer to see. I feel that I backed away from theology because I was weary of trying to please a God who always seemed out for revenge on me. He was angry with me. Nothing I could do would ever please Him.

           I was missing the piece of Christ. When I live within the realm of grace, it means discovering God on a new level. Since I received grace at the moment of salvation, Christ continues to pour His grace onto my life. When I was younger, I was terrified every time I made a mistake or came up short, afraid that God would lash out His punishment by a bolt of lightning from the sky. I lived in so much fear that I could neither pray nor receive grace.

             Then I became what author Brennan Manning calls a “ragamuffin.”  I am a beggar, who fully knows her sins and her separation from God, but clings tenaciously to Christ who bore her punishment and continually gives grace. To study Jesus is to know the correct theology of God. That’s the theology I know. This God Who walks with sinners and loves them. This God Who hangs out with the lowly and expects nothing.

         This is the course that I am taking. This is the direction my life is pointing. I study Jesus. If I ever grasp all His teachings, all His love, all His power, all His compassion, then I will have lived a life to the fullest….and will only need then to pass into Heaven.

       “My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.” –Brennan Manning

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