Thursday, August 30, 2007

And That's How I Knew You

My husband knew me from childhood, basically. We grew up in the same town, and went to the same high school where he would walk past me in the hallway, noticing me, but I didn't "see" him. We had a few conversations, and then not till I was in college, and he in seminary, did we start to really have meaningful conversations. He got to know me, and for some reason, he loved me as I was- which was quite a mixture of faith, fear, zeal, compassion and drive! What's so precious to me is that he has always seen me for who I am. When we first dated, I threw up barricades and tried to sabotage our relationship, and he paid no attention to those manifestations of fear because he saw those actions as manifestations of my history, but not my destiny. He knew he would love me, and that love would win me over and change how I acted.

Why I was blessed to be loved that way by another human being, I don't know. I think its a rare thing. People can often know part of your history, but not your true identity. They can know some things about you, but not know your essence, your heart, your raison d'etre.

Raison d'ĂȘtre is a phrase borrowed from French and its primary meaning is "The claimed reason for the existence of something or someone or the purpose of something or someone"- says Wikipedia.

My reason for existence is to know God, serve Him, love Him. "What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever"- says the Westminster Catechism. I can't enjoy God if I don't know Him for Who He really is.

Every time I try to get closer to the Lord, try to grasp His Majestic Love and Grace and His Essence, I start to learn something I never knew about Him before. And what usually provokes me to draw close to Him is that I see someone else and HOW they KNOW Him- His love, His faithfulness- and I want that. I want to know Him that way. I don't want to be like the wicked and lazy servant in the parable of the talents- he "knew" his master differently than the other servants did. And it wasn't good.

How is it that three servants in one household can know one master- see his actions every day, his habits, watch his face and demeanor, and yet one out of the three servants sees his master in a different light-or rather, shadow? Luke 19 and Matthew 25 each have a parable of a Master and his servants and an accounting that was done upon the master's return.

In Luke 19's account, the one servant who hid his talent, says to the master on his return, "...'here is your mina, which I have kept put away...for I feared you, (was constantly afraid of you-Ampl) because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit and reap what you did not sow. ' "

The Matthew parable has the servant who did nothing with his talent say this:"I knew you to be a harsh and hard I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground."

If we hadn't seen previously the reaction of the master to the other two servants who carried out profitable trading, we might have concluded with the lazy servant that maybe he was right- that master was too hard to please, harsh and demanding.

But instead, the master had not only commended the actions of the two servants who multiplied the master's resources, but he allowed them to share in the bounty by making them ruler over more. But better than that- and THIS is how we know what kind of a master he is- he says to the two servants "enter into the joy of your lord"- meaning, I'm so happy over you and over what you've done- be happy with me and proud that you've done well!"

Here is the thing about this master: He could be pleased. It was possible to please him. He wasn't harsh and austere, as the lazy servant imputed.

I struggle with knowing God's character- knowing his heart and and how to attribute correctly to God the things that are of His doing- and those that are not. Do I think I can please God? Is my perspective of God accurate, fair- or is it wicked?

The lazy servant wasn't just lazy- he was "wicked and lazy". Wicked in the perspective he had of his master, and therefore lazy in his actions, because he thought "Why bother? You can't please the master anyway."

I know this parable holds so many lessons- about stewardship, about the timing of the return of the Lord and the need to be ready and "do business" till he comes, about multiplying our efforts in His vineyard and bringing in the harvest of souls....

But there is another lesson here that speaks to my heart and makes me fear- in a healthy way; makes me afraid to miss something profoundly life changing: How I Know God to Be will affect How I Am.

How DO I know Him? What would be the words out of my mouth when asked to give an account for what I've done with my life and the reason why I hid talents, hid a calling, or sabotaged success- when it was God's harvest for me to bring in? What would be my excuse if I was not commended for faithful stewardship in certain areas of my life? It would be "Well, I knew you to be hard to please God, so I always got discouraged. I felt a lot of despair in this world because I didn't see You overcoming in my life. I started a lot- but I never finished- because who really does that well, anyhow? Who can really please you fully?" That excuse would not only be a lazy self-perspective, but a wicked perspective, implying that God can not be pleased no matter how hard you try or what you do. And that's a lie.

How can I be like the two servants who got busy doing what they should be doing? They understood what the master wanted from them, because they knew who the master was. He was a Good Master, Fair, Righteous, Rewarding Faith and actions done in obedience to his word to them.

I want to be not only commended with hearing "well done, good and faithful servant" but I want to DO what good and faithful servants DO because they KNOW WHO their Master is.

So, I am rehearsing my account of God- how I know Him- with a perspective of faith. I'm calling it out- that this is how I will be. This is how I WILL know Him- because this is how God is- even if I have not yet fully apprehended it all. "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me." Phil 3:12

So this is what I am saying of the God who enables me to know Him:

"You're faithful to the max, Lord. You never run out of patience with me. When I run, I don't grow weary, when I walk long distances, I don't faint- because You are the wind beneath my wings. You are a Rewarder of those who seek You. You distribute gifts to men, every day- and not just on Christmas, when You gave us Your all. You are easy to please- not that you're sloppy or have no eye that sees, but that it CAN be done. You CAN be pleased, for you have given us everything we need for life and godliness. You rejoice over us with singing. You are not hard, harsh, austere, or severe - though you are an awesome God of justice and righteousness. But I'm your child. And I know You- through Christ- to be the One I not only want to please- but the Father I run to with a heart full of eternal appreciation. "

When I stand on THAT day- when really, who could stand before the great God and King? But I do, all because of the blood of Jesus-

this is what I will hear, over and over ...

"Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty"

And this is what I will know:

"Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments.” Deuteronomy 7:9 NKJ

Yes, I'll think to myself, as I look up at the Lamb slain for me-

and that's how I knew You.


Micca said...


Thank you for your sweet comment about me holding on to faith in the midst of fear! It's the only way to live!
You have a wonderful blog page. I've enjoyed visiting. In fact, my motto is "To know God and to make Him known." Thanks for the reminder.

Marybeth said...

Hey Lauren-- thanks for your comment about moving... I needed to hear that! I will definitely let you know when it's time to do that dance! I just wish I could see it when it happens!