Knowing the Comfort of a God Who Knows.

I’ve heard it said that God seems to get smaller when our problems get bigger. Dealing with people in all sorts of crisis situations on a regular basis, my observation tells me this is true. Even though the events in our lives don’t change God, or our relationship with Him, they have great sway in how people view their God.
When we feel overwhelmed, it is natural for fear to kick-in and take over our emotions. Fear is such a powerful emotion that it makes most feel out of control and causes many to think things about God that are determined by emotion. When this happens, it is all too easy for us to lapse into the temptation to trust in our own understanding instead of God’s wisdom.
The first six verses of Psalm 139 are a powerful antidote to the fear that is caused when we are overwhelmed. These verses assure us of the love of a God who knows. Even when we don’t know or understand what is happening, God does. So we can take comfort in knowing the God who knows. Psalm 139:1-6, ESV:
1O LORD, you have searched me and known me!
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
In verses 1-3, we are assured of God’s intimate knowledge of us. He knows us inside and out. This is particularly helpful when we don’t know what’s going on within ourselves. During times of medical testing, especially when tests are prolonged or the prognosis for ourselves or a loved one is very serious, we can be robbed of peace and sleep. Instead of quietly waiting on the Lord, we scour WebMD for clues or wear ourselves out consulting every manner of “expert” who may have some insight for us. Such activities aren’t bad and can even be helpful for some, but for many they become a faithless exercise that serves to elevate anxiety and fear. Such anxiety and fear can be alleviated by a faith that takes refuge in the God who already knows such things, even when the doctors don’t.
When something in our present threatens our future (like changes in health, the loss of a loved one or some other traumatic event such as betrayal or unexpected hardship), our questions about God become even more vociferous. But again, our doubts and questions don’t change God or His care and concern for us. Amplifying the comfort that comes from knowing the God who understands everything about us is the hope that comes from knowing that God knows even the future:
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.

The Casting Crowns song, Already There, does a great job of reminding us of this fact. Past, present, and future are all the same to God. We can’t often see it and most don’t even believe it, but time is irrelevant to God. Recognizing that time isn’t the big deal we often pretend it is can equip Christians with the faith to embrace every moment we have. We live in a world where lives are measured in years—how long someone lived. Faithful people of God should instead measure lives in love—how well we used the time we were given, regardless of how long people live. (For a look at time from a scientific and scriptural perspective, check out my blog on time).
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.

Not only is God greater than our problems, not only does He know us inside-out and love us with an eternal love, His love also surrounds us. Christians live in the assurance that because Jesus died on our behalf on the cross, we can enjoy the forgiveness of sins and everlasting life. Because God’s love is an undying love that will not be vanquished, not even by death, it surrounds us.
God has told us that his love surrounds us and has given us ways to see His love. Think of your blessings as instruments in God’s hands that show you His love. To make this example much more concrete, consider how God’s love surrounds little Marcello and Manuel: They are “hemmed in” by their incubators, surrounded by doctors and nurses and greeted by the loving voices of their mother and father.  Their parents, nurses, doctors, angels and all who minister to these very young boys are all instruments in the Lord’s hands, revealing His love to His boys.
Behind them lies the difficulties of a touch-and-go pregnancy, a sudden and traumatic birth and two weeks of medical treatments for a host of life-threatening issues. Before them lies the promise of God’s love and a wonderful future here in time and in eternity with the God who created them to know His love. Now, they live in a place where there are no guarantees and many difficulties. Someday, they will enjoy a perfect life where all of their current struggles are a thing of the past. God has laid His hand upon them and blessed them by washing their sins away and claiming them as His own dear children.
Because of these great and wondrous blessings, trials that would otherwise overwhelm us result in praise toward God:
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.

The love of God is so far beyond our human comprehension that even though we could never hope to fully comprehend it, God has given His people eternity to enjoy His love, grow in His love and praise Him for it! Knowing the comfort of the God who knows, transforms this life from a life of worry and fear to a life of praise and faith.
This is the first of four blogs based on Psalm 139. If you would like to be notified when a new blog is posted, please click on the “Follow” icon on the left side of the black banner on top of the page. Thank-you for following and thanks for sharing!!

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2 thoughts on “Knowing the Comfort of a God Who Knows.

  1. Ted January 20, 2014 at 8:45 am Reply

    Pastor, thank you for this post. It is applicable to myself as well and some challenging times I’ve had the past month. All too often we are consumed by events in our daily lives. I’m currently reading “The Daniel Plan” by Rick Warren. Several different spots in the book remind you to think and be thankful about your life and what God has given us. We often overlook these when other events consume our time and energy. We have to stop and address those “now.” Each day, we should also take time to stop and recognize those things for which we have to be thankful.

  2. […] whom I am well pleased!” This is the third of four blogs based on Psalm 139. You can read the first and second by clicking on these links. If you would like to be notified when a new blog is posted, […]

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