Knowing things gives people a sense of security, a sense of privilege, even a sense that we have an advantage over others. We like to know things especially if someone else doesn’t know what we know. It is common these days to say that “knowledge is power.” Knowledge is an asset and a form form of currency that we exchange for things that we need. Being rewarded for knowing things begins when we are toddlers and lasts throughout our lives. Whether we realize it or not we spend parts of every day using the knowledge we have to get what we do not have or what we want more of. Knowledge is indeed a powerful and productive possession for humanity.
Knowledge of course is not limited to math, science, history, business, etc. Theology is ripe with content that can be known. Knowing things about God is an essential element of faith and spirituality. By faith we believe/proclaim that God is creator, redeemer, restorer, and sustainer of life. We know this way down deep in our hearts. It is our personal knowledge of God and it gives us the conviction to live and act in a certain way. Even when we do not integrate our faith into our daily living many people still hold on to this knowledge of God because it is our collective truth about God (our true knowledge.) Theologians and philosophers have been writing exhaustively on this subject for thousands of years and do not seem to be slowing down. Man’s inability to record everything about God might be a sign or proof of the existence of God (to borrow and adapt an Anselmian argument.) The things we know about God shape the way we believe and behave in faith.
Yet we should readily admit that we do not know everything about God. In reality we should confess we know very little, but that very little is enough for a lifetime of faith and service. We know what God’s love is like because He has forgiven so much in our life, but we do not know the boundaries or limits of His love (if any exist.) We know what God’s imagination is like based on what we see in creation, but there is so much apart from earth that we can not know or see/experience. We can sing and write about the power/presence/preeminence of God that holds us together in times of great trial and turmoil, but the tragedy in our world makes us wonder sometimes how God seemed to be either unaware or helpless when certain things are happening. We can walk in the glory of God, but experience in that walk is by faith and not by sight. Our knowledge of God is without a doubt limited, but somewhere way down deep we know that God is real, that He loves us, that He is present in our victories and defeats, that He is for us and not against us. Knowledge of God is a bit mysterious, but it is a mystery that we accept by faith and trust that what God has revealed is exactly what we need when we need it.
We believe in and trust in God not because we prove His existence or have captured secret artifacts of His workings, but because He reveals Himself to us and through that encounter we pursue Him in faith, hope and love. Our knowledge of God is best understood in real time. Not in what He did or what He promised to do. Those details apply to our faith, but in an inclusive way for God’s eternal kingdom. Our best knowledge of God is for today – for right now – and we live breath by breath in His grace and holiness.
Attempting to identify and interpret the working of God in the world is fool’s gold. Our calling and pursuit is to bear witness in the present to everyone/everything that God is love and in His love is both a present hope and a future glory (also a forgiven past!) What God is doing in the future is God’s business and we may or may not be a part of it. What He is doing in the present is very much our business and by faith we are participating in Godly work to see the creation reclaimed and restored. Ours is not to know tomorrow, but to live in and for today. Know this, today is full of potential and promise to be near to God and have Him draw us near to Him. Our calling and purpose is not to plan our life around what we think God is going to do or should do with the world. His plan for us is to know Him, trust Him, walk in Him, and rest in His sovereign love.That is a truth worth knowing.
I am on a need to know basis with God. And that is alright with me.
Sunday – November 16, 2014 / Proper 28 / 1 Thessalonians 5:1-10
1Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anything written to you. 2For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3When they say, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them, as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there will be no escape! 4But you, beloved, are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; 5for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. 6So then let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober; 7for those who sleep sleep at night, and those who are drunk get drunk at night. 8But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. 9For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him.