Experience Needed

cat by tailMark Twain once said:  He who carries a cat by the tail, learns something he can learn in no other way.

The point?  Experience counts in a way that other types of learning don’t.  Experience is not the only way to learn.  Books, ideas, theories matter a great deal.  But a cat scratch leaves an impression that the idea of a cat scratch can not.  We learn by our experiences.

No one is going to argue that carrying a cat by the tail is a good idea – either for the cat or for the carrier – but we need to learn by experience in other, more profitable ways.

When it comes to God, the principle holds just as true.  Books, ideas, theories matter a great deal.  (if you think they don’t, you’re wrong)  But experience of God leaves an impression that the idea of God can not.

To those wary of books, doctrines, theologies, ideas of God I would say that they are absolutely necessary for cultivating a life that grows closer to God.  Everyone is going to form ideas about God, and they’ll either be good or bad, so it is the opposite of humble to assume we ought to go at such formation alone.

But to those wary of the search for experience of God, I say that God Himself invites us to seek in this way.  Taste and see – that’s an invite to experience – that the LORD is good – that’s an objective fact about His nature. (Psalm 34:8)   Taste and then see.  He who tastes and sees God’s goodness, learns something that he can learn in no other way.

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