One of life’s peculiarities is that God’s truth is often opposite of what we expect or consider normal. My friend calls this phenomenon the “upside down kingdom.” For example, to live life fully we have to let go of our tight hold and desire to control it; to save life we must lose it (Mark 8:35). Or, when faced with an enemy, instead of matching blow with blow, we are encouraged to love them (Matthew 5:44). This world of opposites also applies to intimacy with God. J.I. Packer (Knowing God) suggests knowing God actually starts with the knowledge that He knows us! He writes:
“What matters supremely, therefore, is not, in the last analysis, the fact that I know God, but the larger fact which underlies it –the fact that He knows me. I am graven on the palms of His hands. I am never out of His mind. All my knowledge of Him depends on His sustained initiative in knowing me. I know Him, because he first knew me, and continues to know me. He knows me as a friend, one who loves me; and there is no moment when His eye is off me, or His attention distracted from me, and no moment, therefore, when His care falters.”
What does this mean? I love to watch the show, The Voice. I saw it last season and was hooked. It is a singing/talent competition, and there are four celebrity judges. They each select people to be on their team and coach them throughout the competition, using their experience and knowledge to help their team members hone their craft.
At the beginning of the season the coaches choose their teams. This is one of my favorite parts of the show. The coaches sit in huge chairs that revolve at the push of a button. Their backs are to the contestant, so they cannot see what the person looks like, they can only hear their voice. If they like what they hear they push the button on their chair and it swivels around. Once a chair rotates the person auditioning qualifies for the competition. This is called a “chair turn” and is very exciting.
I love to watch the chairs turn around and the look of relief on the participants face, and to see their family members in the audience jumping up and down. But it is sad to watch someone that is not chosen. No chairs turn. The coaches are very nice and offer tips to improve performance, but their turn is over and they go home.
So what if that were us? What if we were on stage, singing our hearts out? Or what if we were on stage just as is, “ourselves,” no fancy notes or skills, just as we are, the good, the bad and ugly? We wait for a chair to turn around to tell us that we are worth it, special, and loved. What if everyone was watching us, at our most vulnerable time, waiting to see if anyone chose or wanted us? Here is the good news: God hits the button. Big time. He is not indecisive, he knows what he wants. His chair spins around. He says, “I want you.” He knows us, completely, still loves us, and desires a relationship with us. Not only that, he then gives us an opportunity to know him. Wow, what a game changer!
“But the man who loves God is known by God.” 1 Corinthians 8:3.