It is important to us as human beings, that we get the sense that there are others that know that through which we are going. This does not always portend that that through which we are going is of a negative nature. Many times we want people to know what blessings are going on in our lives as well.
One of the great blessings of Michal’s and my life right now is the proliferation of grands coming into the world. We waited a long time to hold a grand (I was 58 when Draycen was born). Some become grandparents in their early 40’s. So when we started to have grands we wanted everyone to know. I remember when my first (and at that time only) grandchild came to visit at Berean the first time. I brought him up to the platform to introduce him to everyone during the morning service. I was so happy and blessed that I wanted to share how blessed I was with everyone. In this year (2018) we have welcomed three new grands; Titus (Everette and Grace); Ellorie (Ethan and Sarah); and Rhordyn (Emilee and Matt). Of course, Ellorie is my “Michigan grand” which is a double blessing because we get to see her and hold her all the time. Ethan keeps saying he “gets the house” because he and Sarah are the only ones to stay in Michigan where we can have our grand-girl with us. We now have 8 grands and #9 (Evan and Jena) is scheduled to arrive in February.
But perhaps even more than wanting others to celebrate with us when we are enjoying great blessing and prosperity, we sense a need for people to know when we are going through deep waters. Having a sense of isolation in the midst of hardship, trial, or trouble in our lives is to intensify the hurting.
Many of you know that back in 2001 the church went through a very difficult time of disagreement. It had some to do about me and my deficiencies as a pastor but it also had to do with the pastors at that time being convinced that a plurality of elders overseeing the church was the New Testament model. There was a pretty significant group that had issues with this including half of the deacons who were, at that time, the ruling body in the church. Well, it was the most excruciating time in my 38 years of ministry. Conflicts abounded. Tense meetings were common. Every bad thing you could imagine in the context of a church disagreement was going on including a clandestine plan to remove me from my position. It was a dark, dark time.
During those days, it helped me to know that there were many of my colleagues in the ministry that knew what was transpiring and were there to counsel me, encourage me, and support me. I wanted to constantly “talk it over” with them and they kindly listened. Poor Jerry! During those days many, many hours were consumed in “hashing things over” again and again. It seemed to be all that I could talk about; all that was on my mind. I would go into Jerry’s office or he would come into mine, and everything would be centered around “the trouble”. It was of some benefit to me to realize that others “knew” and were sympathetic to my plight.
But as much as my colleague’s knowledge and input to my situation was helpful, the real help to my soul was that “God Knew”. Oh, the hours I spend in prayer talking the situation over with him again and again. While I know I was a “weary-ment” to Jerry, I also knew that God was never “weary” of my rehearsing and praying about the situation. I took comfort that not only did God know, he knew perfectly everything that was transpiring. He knew of every surreptitious plan, every personal sleight, every conspiracy against me. He knew it all infinitely better than I did. And that helped immensely.
In Exodus 2 Moses has already fled from Egypt to Midian, having slain an Egyptian man who was mistreating a Hebrew. He has met and married his wife, Zipporah. His son, Gershom, has been born. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, as they say, the Israelites are still groaning under the heavy burden of their slavery to the Egyptians. They cried out to God for rescue and God “remembered” his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It is just here that we read, “God saw the people of Israel- and God knew” (Ex. 2:25)
What we must understand is that this was not simply a “passive” knowing; this was an active knowing. God not only had “knowledge” of their situation, but he was going to “do something” about this situation. Immediately following this statement, Moses is called and the events of the Exodus are put in motion beginning in chapter 3
What must be taken from the fact that “God knows” is that he is active in our trials. He does not simply “know them” and leaves it there. He knows, and he is working (Rom 8:28). In my 2001 trial, I knew God knew. That was a blessing. But more of a blessing was the knowledge that he was working in that episode of ministry. What we see at Berean today (even with all our continuing faults) would not have happened except God “knew” and was working in those events to the end we witness today. No, not a finished product, but a growing and maturing New Testament local church.
So hey…God knows what you are going through today. He knows if you, like the Israelites, are in the deep weeds or not. But more importantly, God is “working in the weeds” just as he was in the history of Israel in those day. Take comfort and encouragement from that today, won’t you?