02 February 2013

Greater to be Known

I guess it’s natural to be curious about our Creator. Who is he? What’s he like? Can he be trusted? For me, it’s been more than a curiosity. It’s been a life long journey of discovery. But in my pursuit to know the one true God, and in spite of the knowledge I’ve stored up in this regard, there remains a gaping hole in my spirit that has been somewhat of a mystery. At least until I understood an even deeper longing than to know God.

It started as a question in my spirit. Is it better to know God, or to be known by God? As rumors of a love story echo through the written Word and creation itself, I’m increasingly drawn in by the possibility that God really cares to know us, even me.

The single greatest thing about you and me is that we were known and created by a loving God. We may spend the rest of our lives trying to add to that fact or improve on this truth, but we can’t. God knew and created each of us, and this gives us purpose. We live because we simply are. Nothing else in this life can top that, though we try. Nothing matters more, though we easily think it does. And yet it has been my experience that the happiest and most fulfilled Christian is keenly aware of God’s awareness of them.

“I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.” Psalm 31:7 NIV

I don’t know what all the writer of this Psalm knew about God, but he at least knew that God cared for him and knew him personally, and that clearly mattered most. Our focus on knowledge about God will stimulate us intellectually, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. But a focus on his love and knowing of us sparks a connection on the heart level. A very different experience.

“Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” Matthew 7:22-24 NIV

Jesus spoke these words to a group that seemed to be seeking God, had faith and were casting out demons. They had knowledge of God and may have even led some to Christ. But there was one problem; in all their seeking, they managed to keep God out of their own hearts. And the outcome was tragic.

I used to view Christianity as 90% knowledge about God and maybe 10% interaction with God. I now know it’s the opposite. As Paul writes;

“For now we see in a mirror, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know fully even as also I was fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12 ASV

We all see God askew, for now. Merely a foretaste of who he is perhaps. We could spend our whole lives seeking the depths of his being and still barely get a glimpse. Yet he see’s us completely for who we really are, just as he made us. And he always has. Yes, with all our flaws and potential for evil. He’s known that from the beginning. Yet he loves. So, while I appreciate the little I know of God, I absolutely celebrate the fact that he see’s and knows me as I am.

When we pour our heart out to God, I believe we’re letting him know us. When we confess our sin, we’re letting him in. But do our efforts really have much to do with him knowing us? I’m not so sure. Notice the words God spoke to the prophet Jeremiah.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;... I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5 NIV

I’m learning to put my trust in what he knows of me, not what I know of him. What he saw in me as an infant, not in my knowledge as an adult. I don’t even completely trust what I think of myself anymore, only what he thinks. And I’m finding a deep and profound peace in this truth.

“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to son-ship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.” Ephesian 1:4-6 NIV