To Know and Be Known
My children delight when I tell stories of when they were babies. They giggle and ask questions about their younger selves. Then they beg me to tell another story and then another… They love being known. When they see themselves through my eyes, their identity unfolds a little more inside of them. It tells them they are worthy of being celebrated. Heard. Understood. Seen.
Oh, how we need to know we are seen. Was this not what the shepherd-turned-king David was expressing so intimately in Psalm 139?
If I am standing or sitting… If I am running around like a crazy person or laid out on the bed exhausted, you are so familiar with everything I do. You are familiar with everything that tumbles out of my mouth. You know where I am coming from, why I say such things. Even before I was a teeny tiny baby rolling around impatiently, You knew me. You know the good, you know the bad. You are thinking of me all the time, more than the grains of sand, I am on Your mind (paraphrasing and embellishing liberties taken, but you get the point).
After David details how intimately G-d knows every part of him, He further expresses…
And, You are still with me…
Actually, You completely encircle me… Lay Your hand on me.
Not only do we want to be known, we need to know that, in the full knowledge of who we are, we are accepted.
With this same passion, I believe G-d wants to be known by us.
No, He doesn’t need our acceptance to seal His identity, but He created us so He could love us and be loved by us. His very first description of Himself in the Scriptures is to Moshe in Exodus 34.6-7. He can say anything He wants, but what does He chose as His introduction? A personality profile. I AM gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in love… He wants Moshe to know who He is. He wants us to know who He is. This rips my soul because like many, I have spent too many years imposing a personality profile on G-d that is not His. I have quietly judged Him as distant, uninterested, disappointed, impatient. I have misunderstood the beautiful G-d that says call me Abba, I hide you beneath my wing, I know every teardrop and I have collected it carefully in my bottle, that’s who I am.
Our Great and powerful G-d wants to be known.
Abba, teach us to authentically know you. In these Days of Awe, search us and show us where we have misunderstood who You are. Show us every subtle way we have judged You. In our pain, we have deemed You to be someone You are not. Grant us the bravery to seek a G-d that is beyond our imposed expectations, a Father who invites us on an adventure to explore truth like we have not fully known it. To know You in ways we didn’t know were possible.