If you were in my Sunday School class the other day . . .
BTW, I don't like calling it "my class". I wish we had a name for it so it can be referred to as "the so-and-so class". I'm just not comfortable with "Dennis Manor's class" or "my" class, but they usually are referred to by the teacher's name so I'll go with it for simplicity's sake.
After preparing for the "lesson" (another term that I don't particularly like, but I won't go into that right now) over a 6 day period, I was hit with something that caught me as rather profound. If you were in the class you know that this happened at 1:45 Sunday morning. When I brought it up it came out as something more confounded than profound. I struggled to even pose the question. So, here it is, hopefully, presented in a way that will make some sense.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep." John 10:14-15
When Jesus talks here about knowing His sheep, He speaks of a deep, intimate knowledge. He knows everything about us. He knows us better than we know ourselves and better than anyone who knows us can know us. The term "better" here doesn't even apply. "Better" indicates that there may be even more to know. Simply and absolutely stated, just as "I Am That I Am" applies to God, "I know" applies to Jesus' statement here.
Some of us take our limitless God and we place Him within the limited thinking of our minds and we interact with Him on that limited basis. He wants to give us so much more of Himself than our own thinking allows. Approaching Him with something as if it is news to Him, I think, limits our expectations of Him.
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us," (Ephesians 3:20) calls for us to open our minds to a God who is greater than our minds can possibly conceive, rather than to try to bring Him down to an understandable dimension.
At 1:45 in the morning, it came to me. As many times as I have acknowledged God's total knowledge of me, my life, my past, present, and future, my wants and needs, my dreams, my hurts . . . everything about me, I approach Him in prayer as if I'm informing Him of these things. The worse the problem or the hurt, the greater my own lack of knowledge or understanding, the more "informative" I am. I don't know about you but, in a one-on-one or small group conversation, I don't like to be told something I already know as if I didn't know. This doesn't apply in teaching situations, only conversation. I'm not implying that God is like me in this, but why do we approach our all-knowing God as if He doesn't know?
My question to the class was something like, "Would it affect our prayer life if we approached God in the assurance that He already knows? He simply and completely knows." I'm not sure that my question as stated was even that coherent.
It reminds me of Job in a way. Job knew of God's greatness and he was faithful and true to God in his trial. AND he still had much to learn about God. God's knowledge is unlimited. His power is immeasurable. Nothing surprises Him. He knows what He is doing and He has a plan. He tells us to bring all of our cares and concerns to Him . . . everything. But, this is not so we can tell Him all about it so He can then figure out what to do. It's so we can acknowledge Him in all things. It opens us up to seeking Him in the midst of our trials and troubles as well as our thanks and praises great and small.
We go to God because He knows. We should remember that when we talk to Him about what's going on. He is more than just a sounding board or a shoulder to cry on. Approaching Him as the ONE who knows, who simply and completely knows, should place us in a much better posture to receive the peace that we crave.
"The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philipians 4:5b-7
And with that, I realize that I still cannot fully express my thoughts on this. Maybe it's as simple as He knows. Just remember that. You know?
PS: Maybe I should just go to bed earlier.