But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?Galatians 4:9
[Note: I began writing this months ago, but stopped at the start of all the Covid upheaval. As time has gone on though, I now feel it applies even more in the face of all the uncertainty simply because of all that we seem to desire to know, yet don’t. Like, what is actually going on and when it will end and why it’s all happening to begin with and what store will get the next shipment of TP??? And then I thought, since we’ve got all this stuff to know, plus some extra time on our hands to know it, that maybe we could spend less time on all that’s unknown and more time getting to know The ONE that knows it all, instead. Call me Crazy! (I mean, why not? Big C does. He even pronounces the “z” with a “c” so it really fits.) But, in all sincerity, the need to BE known is so much deeper than any need to know, so my prayer is this post meets you right where you are and ministers in the exact way you need.]
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.1 Corinthians 13:12
Lately I find myself looking at US. At you. At me. At humanity, collectively. At the lost and at the found. The wandering and the wounded. The bravely born up and the barely hanging on among us, and I can’t help but wonder. Wonder why it is we do what we do. Wonder what it is we’re all even doing anyway…
I mean, are we as satisfied with our lives as we let on? Content? Filled with purpose? Happy? Really and deeply.
Or, is “what we’re doing” really just an unending search for some final answer? Or, maybe more like a cover up for overwhelming loneliness and deep wounds?
I do wonder when I see us wounding others. Or, biting back all bitter and cynical and angry. Or, stuck in cycles of fear and shame.
I wonder because I’ve noticed that even the well kept and prettied up among us can betray themselves if we look hard enough. I wonder because I see us collectively quieting much of the discomfort we seem to feel through whatever means we can – distractions, addictions, busyness, must have experiences, more and bigger stuff, serving, or simply the next best opportunity. And, I start to wonder even more when I see us pretending we’re all good and have it all together.
Or, pretending that we don’t really care that we have nothing at all together. Hiding from even our own selves the hurt and questions and full on lack. Looking continuously for all the answers from others we respect or experts or even the famous, simply because they have a platform that we’ve given them. Attempting to seek the final answer to finally satisfy the endless needs that (we’d admit if we’re completely honest) will forever continue to arise.
There really is no final answer on earth that will finally satisfy us completely.http://www.redeemedruth.com
But, through experience, we ought to know better. I mean, by now, we really should, right? Since we keep coming up short.
Because here’s the hard-to-admit truth of it all: There really is no final answer on earth that will finally satisfy us completely. Make every wrong, right. Make every broken thing, whole. Make every hurt thing, heal or sick thing, healthy. [Make every pandemic disappear and set the world back the way it was.]
And I may be ruffling some feathers here (and as important as these things can and should be!), but… Politics and governments won’t do it. More money or healthier lifestyles or better access to programs and resources won’t either. And neither doctors nor scientists nor professors nor theologians, as needed and wise and gifted as they may be. And, truthfully, it’s the same with caring well for our planet or being better, kinder people or helping and giving more of our own personal time and resources to the issues most heinous or that simply shout the loudest.
And I honestly believe we all know this in the deepest part of our being, yet we continue to seek the created for the answers. Probably because it makes us feel better. Like, at least we’re doing something! Something good. Something tangible. Something to help. Anything at all.
And, yes, we should continue to do these things, but… oh my goodness, I just wonder how on earth we can still believe this earth could possibly hold the answer to a world filled with such continuous need and lack?
Known, in Relationship
Put simply – it can’t. Not ultimately.
You see, in much of the doing… and in the searching and grasping and covering up that happens on this earth, we’re actually looking for this earth – this world – to do for us something it was never created to do. To fill up in us something it can’t and never could. To finally top off a bottomless need we all were born with. A need that is our heart’s ultimate cry, honestly, though we may each express it differently.
And this need we collectively have is… To. Be. Known.
And, we simply all crave this to our absolute core because we were created by God to be known in a relationship with God.
Therefore, meeting this need – completely and unconditionally – is foundational to our living completely and unconditionally satisfied, without need of any more filling from any other source. To put it another way, once we’re getting completely filled by The Source (God), all the doing… all the searching, grasping, covering up, and even gripping on for dear life (read: control!) we all seem to do instead, can actually be a thing of the past.
*Read that again, will you??* [I mean, can you even imagine living without all that? Especially in the time we find ourselves living today? The kind of freedom and peace that could come with that, even in the midst of all this!?]
What’s more (in a sincere attempt to further this point and not to shock you totally!), the act of sex itself is not only some physical need we have. It goes way beyond this, apparently finding it’s source by this need we all have to be known. See, as you may already know, the Bible describes sexual intimacy as “knew” and seems to confirm that, on the consensual, loving side at least, it may be the closest physical thing to the bearing of a soul or – being known – that we can have on earth. This idea may also offer us some explanation as to why we humans so idolize and glorify sexual activity and identity (or even exploit and weaponize it, another subject entirely), instead of glorifying our Maker.
Which brings me to the next point…
Known, Yet Created
We’ll always come up empty in all the attempts at filling from this earth’s resources.http://www.redeemedruth.com
There’s a problem, though. Just being or feeling known by another created thing will never fill us completely nor fulfill us ultimately. Let’s think about our own relationships… parents, spouses, family, friends, work, and acquaintances alike. We let people down and they let us down. Simply because another human’s resources are as limited as or own.
And honestly, aren’t we each too busy trying to be known and fill our own empty, to be truly able to completely know and fill another’s? Even those we love the most!
Therefore, we’ll always come up empty in all the attempts at filling from this earth’s resources. We’ll always need another drink or bite or hit. Another compliment. Another trip. Another improvement or purchase. Another hug or kiss or romance. More love, money, time, and resources. The next big project, achievement, or recognition. The list really is endless.
Because our buckets really are bottomless.
But, there really is good news in the end. There really is a good Savior in all this. [Even for such a time as this!] And He’s the only reason why, I will forever keep pointing everyone who dares ask me or read words I’m graced to write to Him.
And this good news and Savior is Jesus – The Creator of us all and this Universe and The only One Who is The Ultimate Source and Answer and Fulfillment of every empty thing.*
See, Jesus’ supply is infinite. His motives are pure. And, He only desires for us to know and love Him, then act out of that reserve to fulfill His perfect purpose for each of us.
And Y’all, there’s really nothing even remotely complicated about it! Not to mention, He’s working it all out on our behalf, so we can’t mess this thing up. Even when we try! (And trust me when I say, I often try!)
Known, By Jesus
We insist on keeping so busy staying busy or moving forward or keeping perpetually stuck in order to avoid simply keeping at Jesus’ Feet.http://www.redeemedruth.com
See, the truth is God’s already done the greatest and hardest part of all this living for us.
He sent Jesus.
We never earned it and we have nothing more to do to earn or keep it. Jesus made the way, for all time, for us to know God all on His own and all we have to do is own that.
We sadly – and way, way too often – still fight daily against truly seeing and believing any of this. We fight against simply accepting that it was His. great. love. for. us. that compelled Him to do all of this for us! And, we insist on keeping so busy staying busy or moving forward or even keeping perpetually stuck in order to avoid simply keeping at Jesus’ Feet.
And, Y’all, that’s such a shame. Because we miss out on everything when we miss out on keeping time with Him! We miss out on all the knowing. About Him, sure. But also just knowing Him. Knowing all the filling and the loving and the real living He has for us.
So, why Lord? Why would we ever do this?
We are a reflection of the God we perceive.http://www.redeemedruth.com
From my personal experience, I believe it’s because we have collectively believed lies about Him. We believe God’s something He’s not and requires something He doesn’t… perfection and purity and a decent amount of service and even more self-reliant independence.
[Again, God only requires we believe in Jesus.]
What’s more, we have (wrongly) believed all that is required is all up to us. And, worse still… that if we can’t live up to these requirements, we best cover it up and pretend we do!
But, My Friends… we Christians, are a reflection of the God we perceive, so it’s no wonder our reflection to this world can seem so skewed.
Skewed towards our own perfection, passions, righteousness, sacrifice, service, goodness, giving, appearance, and relationships. Skewed towards everything, but Jesus!
And in one way or another, we continually deny God’s completed and perfected work through Jesus, in favor of our own. Yet, all He’s ever asked us to do is accept His free gift of Jesus and offer Him our hearts to know in return, so we can, in turn, offer Him to others through gifts of The Holy Spirit (also provided by Him). [This actually points us to The Trinity. Here’s a good resource for further study.]
So really, that voice we hear all the time… the one that tells us to, “go, Go, GO!” That voice is not Jesus! That voice is only pride, fear, and shame talking and it only leads to more cover ups. Truthfully, Jesus doesn’t want us perpetually on the go, He just wants us going to Him. And then, going on with Him forever, in relationship!
Because, in all the go, go, go we’re forever doing, we’re only searching for what He’s already secured for us, anyway. In fact, each time we choose to turn from or run ahead or often even away from Jesus, in favor of our own agendas, He’s turned towards us, awaiting our return, telling us to rest with Him a while.
And while, after that rest, He may actually call you to get going, I can guarantee it’ll be a peace-filled journey, all the while knowing He’s has gone before, is still behind, and stands steady all around guiding.
And Y’all, all this started way back in the beginning, the minute Adam and Eve ate from the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil” and they immediately knew of evil and then believed the biggest lie ever told! After they disobeyed God’s one requirement, breaking their beautiful fellowship with Him, they became instantly afraid and ashamed then believed they could no longer be known completely. They hid from God, searched around for an answer and grasped tight for some cover-up, and finally blamed Him, the serpent, and each other.
And this is our story, also. Every last one of us. We’re born with their DNA. And so this is what we’re actually doing, in so much of our own doing.
But remember, God sent Jesus.
*read that last sentence again*
And because of Jesus, we no longer need to be afraid of being known totally—scars, sins, messes, and all— or even afraid of NOT being known at all, and can finally satisfy once and for all(!) the need of being completely and unconditionally known by the One Who Knows us truly and The Only One that truly matters. The One Who created us and sees us perfectly and exactly as we are, yet still loves us anyway.
Known, Not Alone
We’ll never, ever really know Him until we finally know we’re already fully known by Him.http://www.redeemedruth.com
And, because of Jesus, we are forever God’s Own, to be known. And yet, we’ll never, ever really know Him until we finally know we’re already fully known by Him.
Known and loved. Known and adopted. Known and rewarded. Known and celebrated. Known and cared for. Known and provided for. Known and led. Known and disciplined. Known and convicted. Known and – oftentimes, even – pierced or pricked or tested or tried or humbled or battered or completely broken down. [Or, even quarantined!]
And, better still… known while never, ever truly being alone, because we’re also always known and shepherded.
And, knowing this truth can help us finally know that we are safe to finally surrender. Surrender our agendas. Surrender our goals. Surrender our pride. Surrender our ways, our thoughts, our idols (Help us, Jesus!). Surrender our control and fear and shame and that ultimate need to know and be known by this world into the Hands that have known all, hold all, and were nailed for all.
Jesus Himself said,“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me…” and also “I know my sheep and… my sheep know my voice.”
So, here’s my final question to you: Do you know The Shepherd and His voice?
Let me illustrate. I have a new friend. Now, I met her a long time ago, but we never hung out then, just shared some of the same spaces and acquaintances. It’s only recently that we’ve been spending time together in Bible study where she hears me talk (probably too much) and I hear her. Just the other day she asked me if hubs and I ride bikes and, if so, had we ridden by a particular landmark the previous Friday. I confirmed we do and had and she laughed then said, “I knew it was you because I heard your voice!”
I blushed, honestly a tad nervous she’d actually heard some argument or salty talk (bike rides are notorious for these convo’s in our world!), then quickly blurted out my fears and apologies. After assuring me that wasn’t the case (Thank you, Jesus!), she reiterated how funny it was that she knew it was me only by my voice.
Funny. And yet a baby knows their Momma’s voice immediately at birth. You also know the voices of those most important to you and those you spend the most time around. And this friend, even though we’d met a time or two prior, wouldn’t have picked up on my voice had we not been spending consistent time together in the present.
And the same goes for Jesus. We can’t know the Voice of Jesus if we don’t spend a pretty decent amount of time in His Presence.
Likewise, we can’t expect to truly know God, if we don’t know Jesus. We can’t reflect Him adequately, consistently, nor honestly, when we don’t spend time at His feet and in His Word. And, while much is often taught about the importance of having a knowledge of God and participating in corporate learning, this quest can only truly start when you realize He has the most intimate knowledge of you and desires time alone with only you, simply because you’re a sheep in His flock and He is your Shepherd.
Listen, this Shepherd is willing to leave 99 sheep to find you! Simply because that’s just Who He Is. And, you know what they say about God’s sheep! They, “… lack nothing.”
Nothing. No thing. Like, if they don’t have something, then they don’t truly need it.
Not even if they’re currently hungry or poor or sick or confused or frightened or spinning in sin. Not when life seems unfair or when they’re upside down in a pit dug of their own making. Not when they feel that bottomless need to know or be known ever more. Not even when they’re sitting in a pandemic, all alone! They still lack for nothing.
How do I know? Because God’s sheep ultimately KNOW they have a Shepherd who knows them to the core.
Read more from the Prophet Isaiah, Chapter 43:
“But now, this is what the Lord says—
he who created you..
he who formed you…:
‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
… Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you…
Do not be afraid, for I am with you…
” ‘You are my witnesses,’ declares the Lord,
‘and my servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
nor will there be one after me.
I, even I, am the Lord,
and apart from me there is no savior.
I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—
I, and not some foreign god among you.
You are my witnesses,’ declares the Lord, ‘that I am God.
Yes, and from ancient days I am he.
No one can deliver out of my hand.
When I act, who can reverse it?’ ”
And, even more Love and reasons can be found here: Psalm 23; Psalm 46; Psalm 91; Psalm 139; Psalms 145-146; Isaiah 54; John 17. (Go ahead. You’ve probably got plenty of time to look them up!)
*Side note: Jesus truly IS the answer and fulfillment! Even for every confused or afraid or uncertain or chaotic thing! And, if you’ve yet to do so… please, please, please be brave enough to test Him on this. Just give in and give Jesus a go. If He’s not for you, you can let Him go, but I guarantee that if you invite Him to know you, you will want to KNOW HIM and never want to lose Him! Feel free to message me if you would like help with this.
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