Ever stop to think about how well God truly knows you?
Just like the author He is, God has woven a character sketch for every single one of His kids. He knows the ins and outs of our hearts more than well enough. He sees us for who we are, and with all our flaws and pain and scars and joy and triumphs He still loves us. While I know there is pain associated with not mattering nearly enough to other people, that is never the feeling I get from my heavenly Father. He loves me well and I cling to Joshua 1:9 knowing He has written my story, created my character sketch and composed my heart to reflect Him as I walk forward.
There are certain things I need and crave in my relationships. One item at the top of my list is the need to be known, understood, cared for.
To be known is to be able to trust another person with my struggles, with my goofs and corks, with my weird thoughts, with my dreams, with my plans to achieve those dreams. To be known is to be loved. To be known is to hear the words, “I love you just as you are,” and to see those words backed up by actions. To be known is to discern someone has pure intentions toward my heart.
To be understood is to have someone not necessarily agree with me or everything I do; rather it’s about knowing they are trying to agree. Trying doesn’t mean there will be success, it simply means they are putting their best foot forward with pure intention, to let you know that they’re willing to sacrifice their own opinions to understand yours.
To be cared for is to foster true respect and honesty. To be cared for is to be observed to find more and more things to cherish, rather than things that can be used. To care is to give the other person the assurance they are safe.
These are the reasons why I’m happy to be writing this post. God has been teaching me a lot about courage in these areas, and how sometimes the smallest things require the most courage.
Because I so desire to be known by other people, I’m coming to learn that it’s far better to know I’m known by God…and He cares for me infinitely and understands me better than anyone ever could. At the end of the day, it shouldn’t matter if no one else in the world knows me or understands my heart. Rather it’s become far more important to believe with my all that God loves me completely and unconditionally. And He’s been using a truth found in an Old Testament story to solidify this in my head.
There’s one place in the Bible we can go to and see the words courage and strength multiple times in the same passage. And that’s the first two chapters of Joshua.
Joshua 1:9—Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
If I’m not careful I tend to think of the Old Testament as if it’s not valuable, at least not as much as the New. So earlier this week I was reading Joshua 1 and it hit me: Perhaps I think there is nothing left to learn from the Old Testament because all the answers in each story have been given. There’s little left to the imagination.
We know God supplied a ram to take Isaac’s place on the altar. We know Ruth and Boaz ended up falling in love and being some of the ancestors of Jesus’ line. There’s so much we know from the stories of the Old Testament that I forget to examine it with a student’s heart.
Joshua challenged me. Because just in the first nine verses alone God shows His heart for the Israelites’ new leader. He repeatedly tells him to be strong and have courage. And throughout the rest of the chapter and on into the second, as Rahab makes her first appearance, He is showing just how well He knows Joshua. He repeatedly offers the encouragement to Joshua’s heart he needs in every single moment.
This encouraged me. It made me realize that I get carried away with the desire to feel like I matter to people, and the subsequent heartbreak when I don’t feel like I’m enough for them. But that’s the completely wrong perspective to have. God loves me and meets all my needs by reminding me to be strong and have courage, to start and end each day with the knowledge that God knows and understands me when no one else does.
Here’s something I’ve done this week to remind myself God knows me and all the other characters He has created: He met my need to be strong and have courage as I had to make a tough decision not long ago. He assured me He was already at, and even past, the hurdle I couldn’t even approach yet. I just had to trust Him.
What can you do this week to remind yourself that God knows and understands you well? Is there something you’re holding back from doing because you’re afraid or fearful? How can you challenge yourself to take action knowing God is already there, even past it?