I believe our natural children get to know our nature and character toward them most during their times of crisis. When they’re in the midst of pain, suffering and need, they recognize our deep care and provision for them. When my children were growing up, I didn’t have to lecture them about what I’m like. I never had to say, “I’m your father—I’m patient, kind, full of mercy and lovingkindness toward you. I’m tenderhearted over you, ready to forgive you at all times.” It would have been ludicrous for me to make this kind of proclamation. Why? My kids learned about my love for them during their crisis experiences. And now, as they’re grown and married with children of their own, my sons and daughters are getting to know me through a whole new set of experiences. They’re learning even more about me by my attitudes and actions toward them in this new time of need in their lives.

So it is with us, in getting to know our heavenly Father. From the time of Adam down through the cross of Christ, the Lord gave his people an ever-increasing revelation of his character. Yet he didn’t do this simply by proclaiming who he is. He didn’t try to reveal himself by merely announcing, “The following names describe my nature. Now, go and learn these, and you’ll discover who I am.”

The Hebrew expressions (names) do describe the wondrous glories and provisions that are wrapped up in our Lord’s name. Yet, God revealed these aspects of his nature to his people by actually doing for them what he proclaimed himself to be. He saw his children’s needs, foresaw the enemy’s strategy against them, and intervened supernaturally on their behalf.

I urge you to get to know your heavenly Father slowly, purposefully, on a heart level. Ask the Holy Spirit to recall to you the many facets of heavenly provision God has given you during your times of need. Then ask the Spirit to build into you a true heart knowledge of I AM—the God that is everything you need, at all times.