Don’t you know me, Caroline?
I’ve been troubled lately. Troubled by all the unrest, untruths, and ungodliness in the world. Worried about good friends suffering health issues that have not been relieved. Anxious about minor instability in my personal financial situation. And though the things in my own life that have me troubled are far, far less serious than what my friends and many others are currently facing, the anxiety is still real.
So I pray about all of it. I also fret about all of it. “God, please help. Is God really going to help?” And then I’m fretting about my lack of faith.
But the other day I turned to the Gospel of John looking for some encouragement from the words of Jesus that he spoke to his disciples right before his arrest and crucifixion. And I got it immediately, in a pointed question he addressed to one of his chosen Twelve.
Jesus was preparing them for his death and subsequent return to heaven following his resurrection, reminding them that he was no ordinary human and that the events which were about to unfold were all part of his plan for the redemption of mankind. And when he told them that they know and have seen God the Father, Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” To which Jesus replied, “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”
And as I read that, I felt in my spirit Jesus saying to me, “Don’t you know me, Caroline, even after I have been with and in you such a long time?”
- Don’t you know that I created humanity to know me and be in a love relationship with me, and that I went so far as to submit myself to scourging and spitting from men whom I created, and the agony of the cross because I so loved the world and want no one to perish? Do you think now that I don’t care about you and those you care about?
- Don’t you know that I created the universe from nothing and that I reign over the nations, making some great and destroying others, and that none can thwart my plan for the ultimate and eternal redemption of all who trust in me? Do you suppose now that I have given up and given in to the rebellious intentions of the wicked?
- Don’t you know that I have shown myself to be a compassionate, gracious, and loving God, more so than any human father, and it would be completely uncharacteristic of me to ignore the prayers of my children? Would you malign me by questioning whether I will do what is best for you and all those who belong to me?
No. No…I do not want to denigrate the God who loves me by questioning whether he indeed is working in my life, the lives of my friends, and the affairs of the world. I do know these things about him, but I need to remind myself of them every day. So do you.
To know God and his ways is to know peace. But we struggle to know and trust him sometimes because he is not accessible by our senses. He can and may make himself known to us directly through the inner witness of the Holy Spirit. But we can and also may know him by assessing the evidence he has given in creation, history, and conscience.
The solution to all the trouble in the world is the same as that for the trouble in our own hearts. It is knowing God as who he really is and has always been and always will be – sovereign, all-powerful Lord of the universe, and wholly good, kind and compassionate Lover of our souls.