Last week Shelly and I enjoyed a baseball game at Busch Stadium (aka, “Baseball Heaven”) with some dear friends of ours.
Midway through the game, a gentleman struck up a conversation with my pal and we began to talk shop about Cardinals baseball. (Yes, I butted in because I’m friendly like that.)
Before long the game got exciting and we were all reveling in the thrill of victory. It was a glorious day, dear reader!
As we were leaving the parking garage my friend said, “Man, that guy looked familiar. It was his mannerisms and the way he talked. I feel like I’ve seen him before…”
A few days later he realized who it was: NASCAR driver, Kenny Wallace.
(After a walk-off Grand Slam, a jubilant Kenny shot this video. If you watch without blinking you can almost see us behind him and his wife.)
I was yelling, laughing, and high-fiving with Kenny Wallace? I hadn’t a clue. But how could I?
I’ve heard of him but I don’t follow NASCAR. I’d never seen his face. I wasn’t expecting to run into a race car driver. It wasn’t like he was carrying a sign or something. Kenny was incognito.
So how could I possibly have known?
Naturally, such an encounter makes one think.
My mind went to C.S. Lewis.
We do know that no man can be saved except through Christ; we do not know that only those who know Him can be saved through Him. (Mere Christianity, p. 50)
My premise is this: It’s entirely possible to meaningfully interact and connect with another person whom one does not actually know.
If this is possible with a human person, is it reasonable to think it’s possible with a Divine one?
It seems plausible, in fact it appears highly likely, that one could relationally experience God but not truly know who He is.
Of course, there’s a big difference between Kenny and us and God and us.
I didn’t know Kenny and Kenny didn’t know me. (I’d imagine if Kenny reads this he’ll think: “I didn’t know that was Steve Griffin!”)
But God knows the one who doesn’t know Him—and He loves this person immensely. Upon what levels does God mercifully and lovingly relate to those who sincerely, yet ignorantly, interact with Him?
Jesus is our only hope of salvation. He’s the only Way to the Father. But is it possible that the narrow way is wider than it appears?
I know some will label me a heretic for having, much less expressing such ruminations.