You’ve probably seen the videos on social media. They come from “American Idol,” “Britain’s Got Talent,” or one of those kinds of shows. The next performer comes out on stage and tells the judging panel what their dreams are and what they’re going to do. The looks on the judges’ faces tell the story. They are ready to fire the people that let these people through the first audition. They’re probably wondering if they can get out of this performance somehow. But, the show must go on. The performer begins and within seconds the judges’ faces turn from “why is this person here?” to “Wow! This is the greatest performance ever!” They didn’t know the performer and originally judged them by their looks. Once they knew a little bit about their talent, they were blown away.
We all have those little surprises. Someone we think we know well does something completely unexpected. Sometimes it’s good; sometimes it’s bad. Our reaction is something like, “I didn’t know you could do that!” People who have known each other for years can still surprise each other. They gain a new-found respect for the other’s talents if the surprise is good. We can never surprise God, however. Jesus reminded us that “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—” (John 10:14)
I find it comforting that God knows me. He knows me better than I know myself. He knows my capacity for good and He loves me. He knows my capacity for evil and He still loves me. God knows our every thought, our every action, our every word. He hears me when I mutter under my breath at that retail worker who doesn’t meet my exacting standards. In all of that He not only loves me, He reminds me of His presence. He gently calls me to love the retail worker in spite of my frustrations knowing that they have been on their feet for 6 hours before I got to them and they have dealt with all kinds of rude behavior. Or perhaps, God knows that they have had a great tragedy and are trying to deal with it while still needing to work. Jesus, as the good shepherd, knows me, and I know Him. If I am listening to Him, He makes me responsive to the needs of others; He brings me to repentance when I am wrong. I can hear the call of God each and every day, in every situation I am in, if I am listening. I can react in God’s way, or I can reject His call and regret my actions for a long time.
Just as He knows me, I know Him and I recognize His presence in all circumstances. When I go my own rebellious way and deal with life out of spite, or anger, I still know Him; I just know that I am displeasing Him and the sad fact is that it doesn’t bother me at the time. Still, He knows me and loves me. He draws me back, lovingly, like a good shepherd does when a sheep wanders off on its own looking for something better than the lush green pastures the shepherd has brought them to. Too often I am afraid to “let my hair down” and let people know me for who I really am. I can’t imagine some people still wanting to be my friends if they really knew me. Jesus knows me, even those things I hide from others, and still loves me. The result is that His grace continues to draw me closer to Him and those things in me that are wrong slowly disappear.
Lord, I continue to be in awe of the fact that You not only know me better than I know myself, but that You love me. Sometimes You love me when I hate myself for my thoughts and actions. Continue to draw me into fellowship with you by Your love and grace. Make me the man I ought to be.