These past couple of months have been troubling for all of us. In one way or another, we have been impacted by inflation, gas prices, rent, getting our kids ready for school, navigating new careers, as well as local and global events. My wife and I have been in an extremely fortunate position to be able to assist a few of our friends and neighbors amid these events. Since nobody is immune to the items listed above, I believe it is crucial for believers to reach out to those around us, all while being available to be used by God.
To be honest with you, my wife and I were able to assist those in need because God has blessed us with resources and, for another simple yet overlooked reason, we knew people around us in need. These people are friends, family members, and neighbors. This got me thinking about how we tend to gravitate to help people who we know. Just as we see our friends standing in the lunch line, we immediately cut the line because we see people we know. If we are driving around town and we see somebody familiar walking down the street, we are more inclined to give them a ride because we know them. This is nothing new, and I believe it is human nature to increase our chances of helping each other if we know the people who are in need.
Do you know that you are known by God? It is true. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you are known by God. I am reminded of Galatians 4:8-9: “But in the past, since you did not know God, you were enslaved to things that by nature are not gods. But now, since you know God, or rather have become known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elements?”
I love this passage for a few reasons. One, it has a direct contrast between knowing God and not knowing God. For those of us who follow Jesus Christ, there was a period when we did not know God. But now, since we know Him, there should be a difference in our lives, a complete contrast. Second, it is not enough to just know about God; the key is to follow God. In following Him, we become known by Him.
Think about that for a second: God knows you. That means, if you are going through challenging times, God knows you, and He is willing to help you. I think about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, praying for you and me – so intently that He was sweating blood. I think about the injustice He faced, as a victim of crimes He did not commit and suffering a horrible death. He has experience loneliness, pain, turmoil, abandonment, stress, and weariness. I have experienced some of these things a few times myself, and Jesus knows this in its entirety.
I think back to when I used to play soccer in high school, and I had to run mile after mile just to build endurance. Looking back, I vividly remember not minding the running so much; after all, I was not alone doing all those crazy soccer drills. The unbearable moments in life are somehow manageable when we know that other people are in the same boat that we are. Remember that God knows us through and through. He has experienced what we are going through, and He knows you.
Just as we go out of our way for those that we know, trust that God knows you and has not forgotten you. He knows what you need. He knows what you are going through. This truth should also drive us closer to Him as our will, soul, and mind can be strengthened by knowing that Jesus has gone through it. Not only did He experience what we have, He made it to the other side. He is in heaven seated at the right hand of the Father, in full glory and grace.
May I remind you that – if you know God – He has not forgotten you. If you are not sure if you are known by God, let me show you how to know:
But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.”
-1 Corinthians 8:3
What does it mean to love God? Let’s look at what Jesus said:
“If you love me, you will keep my commands.”
–John 14:15 CSB
“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word…”
–John 14:23 CSB
It is clear that if we follow Jesus, doing as He has said and done, then we are loving God. For those that love God, they are known by God. God does not forget those who He knows, and He will always be there to encourage us along the way.
Mauricio Paredes is Junior High Pastor at Koinonia Church in Hanford, CA. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 559-582-1528