I once had someone notice a slight difference in the way I wore my eyeliner. At the time, I was easily impressed and remember being a little fascinated. The sentiment in noticing such detail, (Because it really was just a slight difference) struck me as being intimately known.
It’s quite silly looking back.
What’s not silly, however, is our God-given desire to be known and loved.
Throughout scripture we see God’s relentless pursuit to convince our hearts of His love and faithfulness. The story line is beautifully intriguing and we need help from the Spirit of God to get this wonderful truth.
We tend to be in constant need of rescuing and reminding.
I am not making a case we should settle for a life of always needing rescued and reminded, but what if we do?
What if our journey isn’t an easily understood, crisp and clean witness? Are we disqualified?
I don’t know about your journey but mine has involved multiple rescues and a continual need of reminders. I don’t share that with a sense of pride or shame, just profound gratitude. The truth is, God’s mercy is greater and deeper than our sin and multiple needs of rescues. This will no doubt confuse the pious.
I don’t believe God wants us to always need rescuing or always need reminded, but His character is one of steadfast love and faithfulness. When He said He would be faithful to finish the work He started in us, He meant it. As that work progresses, we begin to believe He loves us and when we believe it at the core, by His grace, we spend more time helping in the rescue of others and less time needing rescued.
My last big rescue (There’s a difference between big and little rescues) came with it a deep cry for a freedom I had yet to experience. With my eyes opened wide to the depths of my brokenness that couldn’t be denied or hid, Jesus showed up with a smile. He was not smiling at the sin or the pain it caused, He was smiling at me. It was though He said, “Now you’re ready.”
My conversations with the Lord during this season shifted my theology. My previous rescues were clouded by untruths that kept me in a cycle of shame and despair. The concept of grace upon grace as a means to deny ungodliness had not yet seeped into my understanding of a God who delights in us, even in our messes.
“He brought me out into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me.” Psalms 18:19
More than God noticing things like the difference in how we wear our eyeliner is His perfect understanding of our frame. He is “intimately acquainted with all our ways.” He created us, knows us and loves us perfectly. He desires for us to know Him in all His glory and goodness is for our joy. When we see our Father rightly, we mature in love. We not only desire to please Him, we want to stay near Him. He is our Friend who sticks closer than a brother and should we need another rescue, He will reach out His strong right arm and do it again.
One of my fondest memories during this season of repentance and renewal is a moment when I was moved by this thought…“I will always love you and rescue you but how much pain do you want to cause?” Not only was God moving in close to heal my own pain, but He was deepening my sorrow of causing others pain. Apart from His grace abounding in these moments of awareness, it would have been too much. And when despair would come in like a tidal wave, He sent another more ferocious wave that spoke louder than my sin.
Timothy Keller best sums up what happened to me as I was plunged into a dark night, questioning everything I thought I ever knew:
“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved, is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles out of self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”
I don’t know what you believe to be true about our God who delights to rescue us but, I agree with A. W. Tozer… “What we believe about God is the most important thing about us.” We are all on a journey of knowing God and being known by God and others. He doesn’t miss one detail in our pilgrimage to become more like Him and He is fully committed to help us get there. It’s in this place we can rest even as we pray and wait for our full redemption!