If We Only Knew

If We Only Knew What God Knew

 

“After all, I’m only human” is a common refrain we say when we make a mistake. We are essentially justifying why we are not perfect because, as we all know, every person is flawed. As another old saying goes, “to err is human.” I don’t think that I am making any ground breaking statement when I say that all people have shortcomings. Each and every one of us has our struggles. There are even issues that we, as in the entirety of the human race, collectively can’t seem to overcome. One of those things is not being able to see beyond our current situation, and when we can’t see beyond our current situation, it leads us not to be able to see how God is working in our lives.

Often, in our staff meeting, we will be talking about what is going on in the life of the church as well as our own lives. We share both the triumphs and the struggles. You will have many highs and lows when you spend your life working in ministry, serving both God and people. Some days I’m chomping at the bit for it to be my turn around the table so that I can share what God is doing through the youth ministry at St. John. Other times, I’m dreading having to speak because I know that what I am about to bring to the table is something that doesn’t seem to be going well. I think that we can all agree that we don’t look forward to those hard times.

I know that you know that feeling. It’s not exclusive just to folks who work in full-time ministry. It’s something that we all deal with. How often do those hard times affect everything in your life? They seem to have a way to beat you down, sometimes slowly and other times in one swift punch to the gut. It begins to impact your mood, your relationships, your energy, your ability to think straight, and your general view on life. Unfortunately, another place in your life that begins to be affected is your faith.

One of the biggest lies that has ever infiltrated the Church is that life as a Christain will be easy. Over the years, preachers started preaching comfortable Christianity. It’s a fulfillment of what is written in 2 Timothy 4:3, “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” Of course, people want to hear that if you become a Christian, then everything in your life will become rainbows, cupcakes, and lollipops. You’ll never have to face a hardship again. If you have heard that or believe that then let me emphatically tell you that that is false and goes against what Jesus told us.

He explains in John 15:18-25 that the world hated Him, therefore, they will hate his disciples as well. Trials, tribulations, and suffering are all promised throughout scripture to those who follow Jesus. Take the disciples for example, of the twelve, ten were killed. The only two who weren’t killed were Judas Iscariot (who committed suicide) and John. They boiled John alive in oil at one point, but he walked out unharmed. All of that is to say that we will not live an easy life because we are Christians, in fact, we are promised difficulties.

It is when these difficulties come that we often put on our blinders and fall into a woe-is-me mentality. We want to feel bad for ourselves, and we want everyone we see to also feel bad for us. We’ve all been there. We’re having a pity party, and all are invited. This is when we need to take heart and trust in God because we only see part of the picture. When we are living our lives with our blinders on we are missing everything else that God is doing around us. We tend to forget just how big the God that we worship is and that He is in control of every situation. Even yours, no matter how bad it seems. It is only when we look at our difficult situations through hindsight that we can see how God was working through that situation. I’m going to challenge us to keep our eyes open while we are going trough the trials and tribulations.

Tim Keller, a Presbyterian pastor in New York City, once said, “If we knew what God knows, we would ask exactly for what He gives.” This is one of my favorite quotes. It brings me peace and reassurance whenever life has got me down. If we knew God’s big picture, we would not only be happy to go through whatever circumstance life will throw at us but we would be asking God for them. Think about that for a second. What is the most difficult hardship that you have ever faced? How did you feel about it when you were going through it? It was awful, I’m sure. How do you view it now? It has probably become a life defining moment that has strengthened and grown you into the person you are today. That is not by accident. Remember Romans 8:28, “We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” He will work everything, and I mean

everything

, for your good.

I invite you to start saying the same phrase that I have begun saying whenever things don’t seem to be going quite right, “If we only knew what God knew.” If we did know what He knows, then we would never fall into the trap of self-loathing. James 1:2-4 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” God is using whatever our situation is to make us more faithful, and it is through that faithfulness that we will be made “perfect and complete.” So, my friends let us rejoice in all seasons of life and know that God is always performing a mighty work in your life, especially during the bad times. That is when God is transforming us from coal into a priceless diamond.

 

Kyle Smith, Director of Youth Ministries


2 Responses to “If We Only Knew”

  1. Kathi Smith says:

    I love it…it was just what I needed to hear. Love you!!!

  2. Barbara Edens says:

    You quoted several Bible texts to refer to when trouble arises. We must stay in the word daily and He will work out our problems. Kyle, you are a blessing to me with your ability to remember scripture. I pray God will do great things for your life as His servant.

Leave a Reply