To be known before we know
I’ve been thinking more about this ever since reading these words over the weekend in Eugene Peterson’s book Run with the Horses: “The fundamental mistake is to begin with ourselves and not God.”
In this section, Peterson is talking about how God knew Jeremiah before Jeremiah knew him. When we make this the starting point in all our thoughts about God, it changes everything. As Peterson points out, we mistakenly think and live as if “God is an object about which we have questions.” Page 39
“But that is not the reality of our lives with God. Long before we ever got around to asking questions about God, God had been questioning us. Long before we got interested in the subject of God, God subjected us to the most intensive and searching knowledge. Before it ever crossed our minds that God might be important, God singled us out as important. Before we were formed in the womb, God knew us. We are known before we know. This realization has a practical result: no longer do we run here and there, panicked and anxious, searching for the answers to life. Our lives are not puzzles to be figured out. Rather, we come to God, who knows us and reveals to us the truth of our lives. The fundamental mistake is to begin with ourselves and not God. God is the center from which all life develops. If we use our ego as the center from which to plot the geometry of our lives, we will live eccentrically.” Run with the Horses, Page 39
This idea has made me rethink the way I have often seen life as a jigsaw puzzle, where I am trying to make sense of all the different pieces of my life, where I’m trying to figure out where everything fits together. This jigsaw puzzle perspective puts the emphasis on me, instead of God. What Peterson so beautifully points out, all the answers we are searching for are found in Christ, in communion with the One who has always known us. It is in relationship with our Creator that our eyes are opened to the truth. Yet, how often do we tend to forget this? How often do we make the mistake of running around and anxiously searching rather than coming to and abiding in?
I don’t know about you, but I need this reminder all the time, the reminder to begin with Him…not me, not my circumstances, not my feelings…Him. Everything is revealed within relationship with the Giver of our life. He’s the giver, we are the receivers…but receivers can’t receive when they attempt to live independently or separated from the Giver.
You know what’s refreshing about this way of life and this relationship when we actually choose to receive it…to live and breathe and move from this place?
It doesn’t require us to do anything. It’s simply an invitation to come and receive.
“For in Him we live and move and exist…” Acts 17:28
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11: 28-30