The God of the extraordinary

Ps Joey Bonifacio // February 18, 2019, 6:00 am


Photo by Kaidi Guo on Unsplash.

The dictionary defines “extraordinary” as: Not ordinarily encountered, remarkable, exceptional.

An ordinary object can become special because of what it signifies, or the person connected to it.

As Christians, on our own, we are ordinary people. We are nothing special; but we become extraordinary because of our connection with a holy God who cares so much about us.

We sometimes treat God as a cat: Cute, small and comforting. But the picture of God in the Bible is that of a lion.

The Bible in Leviticus 10:10 defines holy as “uncommon”.

“You are to distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean.” (Leviticus 10:10)

And yet, when we come to worship God, things have sometimes become ordinary, dull and a mere routine.

For a lot of people, church has become boring, because raising up of hands, reading the Bible, even fasting, will mean nothing when we have not met God face to face.

The apostle John was considered Jesus’s best friend, because of the encounter that he documents in Revelation (Revelation 1:12-18).

Worshipping God is but a natural response when you encounter God and there are two hallmarks of such an encounter.

1. It is a personal experience

“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.” (Isaiah 6:1)

King Uzziah was one of the partners of Isaiah in the hopes of reforming Judah. He was one of the great Kings. He was prosperous, was victorious in battles, had good public reforms for Judah. With his passing came the death of hope for Isaiah— the death of an era. Isaiah went to the temple of God to find solace, to find comfort, but he encounters God.

Believe it or not, we sometimes treat God as a cat: Cute, small, and something that brings us comfort. However, the Bible tells us the picture of God is that of a lion: Unpredictable, uncontrollable, dangerous.

We sometimes start with the fruit instead of the root. The root is to experience God.

We all have a comfortable picture of God, but when we encounter something bigger, this picture will not suffice if we don’t fully understand who He is— that He cannot be contained.

Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory! (Isaiah 6:2-3)

When something is repeated in the Bible, it is to make a point. But you will not see that God is love, love, love, or that Jesus Christ is Christ, Christ, Christ. Because God is not just love, not just our Healer, Saviour, Father, or Master.

He is holy. He is loving because He is holy, He is, just because He is holy.

Our experience happens in different ways. For some it’s instantaneous. For others, it’s over a course of time. For some, they experience this in the high of their lives, and still for others they experience this in the low of their lives.

The experience is different for each individual. It cannot be an experience through a proxy.

2. It’s a life-changing experience

RC Sproul said in his book, The Holiness of God: “God is too great for us; He is too awesome. He makes difficult demands on us. He is the Mysterious Stranger who threatens our security. In His presence, we quake and tremble. Meeting him personally may be our biggest trauma.”

Trauma is defined as when an impact happens to an object.

Joseph, my eldest son, had an accident a couple of years back. He needed to have 27 staples in his head to close the wound, plus they had to put two metal discs in his head. That experience was traumatic for all of us. Each one of us in the family was changed forever because of that experience.

God is a traumatic God. There’s no way to live the same way after we encounter Him. That’s when things will change in our lives. We sometimes start with the fruit instead of the root. The root is to experience God.

Nobody has experienced the magnificence of God and remained the same.

Then, when you encounter Him, you can’t help but live differently.

When you encounter God you cannot help but say no to sin because you have experienced something too holy and precious to give up. You can’t help but read the Bible because these are the words of God who is bigger than the universe and is present in all of it, and yet chose to relate with you.

Nobody has experienced the magnificence of God and remained the same.

Experiencing God will change us completely because His power is not just amazing, it’s beyond irrevocable. His holiness is something we will not be able to contain.

This is the first part of a blog series titled Extraordinary, written for and first published on Pastor Joey’s website. It is republished with permission.

Reflection and Discussion

  1. Recall what your life was like before God became a part of it. What has changed the most since then? 
  2. If you were to be brutally honest, how would you describe your view of God? Is He a cat or a lion to you? 
  3. Reflect on the fact that God – the One who is bigger than the universe and is present in all of it – actually chooses to relate with you. How does this truth encourage you in your journey of faith today? 
About the author

Ps Joey Bonifacio

Joey Bonifacio serves as the Senior Leader at Every Nation Church Singapore, and also in the leadership team of Every Nation Ministries, a worldwide family of churches and ministries. He is the author of five published books. Joey has been married to his lovely wife, Marie, for over 35 years and together they have three married sons. They are also the grandparents of four children, and they can't wait to have more.