Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. — 1 Corinthians 13:12
Sometimes it seems scary to think that God knows us. He knows what we did last night, last week, last tax season, what we did in Vegas, what we did in high school. He knows all of our secret shames, our unhealthy habits, our impure thoughts, our temper tantrums, our embarrassing moments, and on the list goes.
I went through the Scriptures and found 46 places where God is described as knowing His people, both individually and collectively. That was just from looking up the word “know”. Imagine how many more there might be if we looked for the words “remember,” “intimate,” “known.” A popular “knowing” passage is in Psalm 139, but my favorite is the above verse, because it describes us as being fully known and offers the promise of us one day reaching a comparable level of intimate knowing.
A favorite film of mine is Shall We Dance starring Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon. In one scene, Sarandon’s character asks another why he thinks people get married. In disagreement with his quick and confident answer of “passion” she offers her own (paraphrasing to the best of my memory):
We need a witness to our lives. Someone who will promise to care about the big things, the small things, the terrible things, the mundane things. Someone who will say, “Your life will not go unnoticed, because I will notice it; your life will not go unwitnessed, because I will be your witness.
We all need a measure of significance, of purpose, to know that we are making a difference and mean something to someone, even if only one person. It’s easy to spurt out some cliché line about even when no one else is there, God is or even when no one else cares about us, God does. But despite any overuse of these remarks, they are true.
However, God’s knowing goes so much deeper than just seeing and hearing events in our lives. He knows our motivations, knows the deep emotions buried in our hearts, knows our personalities, our limitations, our potential, our hopes. He knows what inspires us, what damages us, what sharpens us, what scares us. He knows us deeply, more intimately than our mothers or our spouses or our siblings or childhood friends.
There is someone else who knows us, though not as fully as Christ. Our enemy, the devil, knows us too. He has studied us from birth. He knows what trips us up, what tempts us and tries us, what makes us want to give up, what makes us feel guilty, what breaks our hearts. He knows how to hold us back and will do everything in his power to employ those tactics.
Sometimes he will come to you in the form of an old friend reminding you of a mistake you once made or a pattern of behavior you once were enslaved to. But in those moments, let Christ remind you that He also knows your past, but He knows so much more of you than that. He knows how to help you out of that trench, how to encourage you out of the shame of it, how to strengthen you out of the cycle of it, and how to free you completely from any residual entrapment to it.
But why would Christ go through all the trouble of helping you like that, especially since He knows all that you used to be and all the ways you’re going to hurt or possibly fail Him in the future? Why would He invest in you, in me, knowing all that he knows about us?
Because He knows what Satan doesn’t know: the future. Christ looks as us with an eternal perspective, just as we ought to look at ourselves. If we remember as Paul did that our troubles are light and momentary and that our lives are but a breath and a vapor as Solomon noted, that all of it is nothing compared with the eternity set before us by Christ for His glory and pleasure.
Christ is committed to us like a true husband is to his wife. He is committed to knowing us and remaining with us throughout eternity. Let us be vulnerable enough with Him to truly develop that intimacy and commit to know Him more deeply as well.