Last Sunday, I told the children’s pastor at our new church that I used to be a children’s pastor myself. I told myself that if this is going to be our church home, I should be honest (which is true). I told myself that if this is going to be our church home, I should connect (which is true). I told myself that if this is going to be our church home, I should see how my gifts can best contribute to the body (which is true).
But there was another reason. I reason I hid from myself at the time, and realized after I got home.
I revealed my secret because I want to be known.
I have spent the last month since we moved as an anonymous person. No one knows me here. Making friends is a slow process. I don’t have anyone to put down as my local emergency contact. Besides my family, no one knows me here. And it’s getting old.
I want someone to miss me when I am not there. I want someone to realize my gifts and ask me to play a role. I want to be recognized. I want to be valued. I want to be known.
According to the Bible, I am known. God knows me. Psalm 139:1 says “You have searched me, LORD, and you know me.”
But to be honest, I have not usually found this verse encouraging. After all, if God made me, it’s pretty logical that he would know me. And though the word “know” used here is an intimate one (the same word used for relations between a husband and wife, in fact), it is also common- used over 900 times in the Old Testament.
I have often thought of God’s knowledge of me being that of a passive observer. He created me, so of course he knows everything about me. And, since he exists outside of time and space, of course he knows everything I do.
But what about the word “searched” in this verse?
Have you ever wondered what God would need to search us if he already knows everything about us?
Search is an active word. When we explore who people are, what they love, and what they are good at- that is the way we intentionally demonstrate our love. We show them that they are worth our time and attention.
God searches us. He is like the man courting the love of his life. He is thrilled to sit down and hear all about her past, talk about her present, and dream about her future.
God misses me when I do not spend time with him. God realizes my gifts and has asked me to play a role. God recognizes me. God values me. God knows me.
In fact, as I was pondering this very topic, I just happened to be looking for a podcast to listen to while working out. Having not updated the podcasts on my phone in awhile, I had to search. And, I just happened to run across a podcast from my old church. And, not recognizing the title, I just happened to choose it. And, at a time when I wasn’t feeling known, it just happened to be the message given on my last Sunday there. It just happened to be a message that included a recording of the family pastor affirming my contribution to the church, the congregation clapping for me, and the senior pastor praying for my future.
I am not anonymous. I am known.