Paul didn’t say, “I know what I have believed” or “I know why I have believed,” but “I know whom I have believed.” Here was a man who hadn’t even met Jesus or heard Him teach during His brief public life, and yet Paul knew Him so well and loved Him so much that he spent the rest of his life giving Jesus to others and establishing foundations for the faith of many millions to follow—and suffering enormously in the process. He didn’t do all that to ensure that we would learn correct doctrine. He did it so we could know the glorious person whom he had had the privilege to come to know.
I realized last night more clearly than I had in a while that my faith is all about whom I believe and my relationship with Him, the knowing Him, the loving Him.
It’s easy sometimes, at least for me, to get a bit tangled up in the what and why of faith. It is important to know what one believes and why, of course, and I’m certainly not going to stop studying the Bible or doing related research that helps me understand my overall faith. The fact is, though, that while other things are significant, He is the heart of it all. Everything pales in importance to whom I believe in.
I’d like to know more about a lot of things. I’d like to know Jesus better too. And I plan to. It’s clear enough, though, when I think about what or whom I know best, that it’s Him. I’m in my mid-thirties, and I’ve spent some part of almost every day of my life with Him—talking with Him, listening to Him, and trying to understand Him and please Him. I still don’t understand Him as well as I’d like to, and I know I haven’t always pleased Him, but the important thing is that with all that we’ve been through together, all the time we’ve spent together, and all the attention we’ve given each other, I can say with confidence that I know Him.
And I know that I can trust Him.
Right now, one of the things that weigh most heavily on my mind is my future, both immediate and long-term. I’m facing more choices than I ever have before. I like to have options, but lots of options at once can get a bit overwhelming at times. Jesus has given me the power to make almost anything I want of my life, and I appreciate that. The truth is, though, that I trust Him more than I trust myself. I’m going to have my say in where my future goes, but in no way am I going to either plan my destination or try to get there without Him. I know I need Him to guard my future, so I entrust it to Him.
Then there are my family and close friends. I’m not an emotional, gushy person, so they may not realize this, but I care immensely and often worry about them. When I can’t sleep, one of my “favorite” activities is analyzing others’ situations—sometimes their pasts or presents, but particularly their futures. I wonder whether their plans are going to work out. Sometimes I reach less-than-positive conclusions. But then, when I get caught up in worrying and fearing for them—their careers, their finances, their health, their children, or all of the above—it’s usually not long before I realize that my fretting is not going to help them. And then I realize that not much of anything I might try to do would help them much, given my current situation and means. I don’t despair, though, because Jesus “is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him.” And that includes every person I care about.
Last night, once again, the faces of those I love flashed through my mind like a computer folder of JPGs. Yes, each one has needs, problems, challenges, and in some cases lots of baggage to deal with. But they also have the same God I have, the God who is able, the God who guards what we entrust to Him. I’m entrusting them to Him. We’re all going to be okay.
1. 2 Timothy 1:12 NIV