My first year as a teacher, I taught computers to all the students in grades one through seven at a Christian school. Altogether, that was a little less than 200 kids, each with a unique name (sometimes particularly unique) and God-given personality.
I was determined to know all of them. I made up name cards for the kids, designed seating charts, and quizzed myself with each class’s roster.
To me, it was worth it. When I called a child by name and remembered her favorite things, it made her feel special and loved.
After school one Friday night during that first year, my husband and I strolled along in the local mall and stopped into the Christian bookstore where a little girl bounced along among the books and Veggie Tales videos. She was one of my first grade students! Seeing me, she ran over and gave me a hug.
Then, she looked up at me in confusion and asked, “Do you work here?”
“No, sweetie, I work at the school. I’m just visiting the store like you are.”
She knew that she knew me. She knew that she liked me well enough to give me a hug. Yet, out of the context of the school, she couldn’t quite figure me out.
Don’t we all long to be known: really and truly, deep down and without disguise or dissembling . . . known? We roll along happily enough, perhaps, and then we stop in the silence of a moment and question whether anyone in this world truly gets us.
Or maybe we hold onto deep secrets that we are too frightened to share with anyone for fear that they will know us and then they’ll reject us. Anonymity may make us feel lonely, but at least we’re safe.
That’s one of the beauties of God, though. He knows us and He loves us.
It’s a miracle we overlook so much of the time even though we’re miracle-watchers. We rejoice over incredible healings and provision at just the right time. We give God glory, appropriately, for the ways He shows off in our lives and in the lives of others. He is worthy of our praise.
But who stands up on testimony Sunday at church and gives thanks for the miracle that God knows each of us through and through, personally, and passionately?
He–Almighty God—knows our name and even the names we dreamed up for our kids when we played house as seven-year-old girls.
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine (Isaiah 43:1b, ESV).
He—Creator of the Universe—keeps track of the hairs that we yanked loose onto our hairbrush this morning in our rush to pull back our ponytail.
“Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Luke 12:7).
He—Alpha and Omega—knows what you say and the words you manage to hold back by biting your tongue. He knows when your smile is genuine and when it’s just a distraction to hide pain.
“O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether” (Psalm 139:1-4, ESV).
It’s the miracle of knowing and loving. It’s the miracle that caught Nathaniel’s attention in John 1.
Nathaniel didn’t believe Philip’s announcement that they’d found the Messiah. He shrugged it off as news of just another false teacher. This guy came from Nazareth of all places—a small insignificant town unworthy of a Savior!
Still, Nathaniel plodded along after Philip, accepting the invitation to “come and see” this religious teacher who did a pretty decent Messiah imitation.
Then, Jesus saw Nathanael headed His way and said, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” (John 1:47).
Nathaniel was shocked. “How do you know me?” he asked.
Maybe this was the question of a skeptic. A modern-day Nathaniel could very well say, “Who are you to act as if you know me? Who are you to announce who I am and what I’m like. You don’t know me! You’ve never even met me!”
Jesus didn’t back down. He said, “‘Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.’ Nathaniel answered him, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” (John 1:48-49, ESV).
“I saw you there, Nathaniel, and I discerned your deepest thoughts. I know you.”
He knows you also and He loves you.
Not only that, He invites you to know Him. For Nathaniel, this meant promising that “You will see greater things than these . . . you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” (John 1:50-51).
David, the Psalmist who marveled that God who perceived his every thought and the inner workings of his heart, and saw him even when he was an unborn babe in his mother’s womb, also exclaimed:
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them! (Psalm 139:17).
We’re never a face in the crowd to our God or the mysterious wallflower hanging out on the outskirts of the ballroom. Instead, we rejoice in the miracle of being known and we respond to this passionate love by seeking to know Him, as well.
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2012 Heather King