It’s always interesting to watch others navigate the world oblivious to what they don’t know. It’s a stressful way to live. I am thinking specifically of the international students I worked with this summer. Many of them had a very limited grasp of the English. Add to that the fact that they were often coming from cultures vastly different from ours. When many of them arrived late last May, I would see them around town looking dazed and anxious. As the summer months passed, they learned important lessons: who could be trusted, what parts of town to avoid, where to buy the cheapest groceries, etc. And something beautiful happened; they loved life here. Their English improved, our culture began to make more sense, they made friends and were able to share their stories with us. It was extremely gratifying to be part of that.
Isn’t that similar to our experience of following Christ? There have been and continue to be times when I don’t know what I don’t know, but God’s grace is with me wherever I go, whatever situation I get myself into. God’s word through Isaiah’s lips resonates like a violin in a subway station:
But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”
No matter where I am, be it a physical place, a circumstance or a relationship, I can trust the one who made me and called me to his side. I am his. That allows me to breathe and surrender my understanding (or lack thereof) of what is happening to him.
Fast forward to what Paul tells the Colossians:
My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge…
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form and you have been given fulness of Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. Colossians 2:1-3, 9.
So not only can I trust that God has called me to him, I can trust that his Son is closer than my next breath AND he is control of all. That is what I need to know and yet takes a lifetime to understand.