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Last year I read lots of books. I actually listened to most of them, as has become my habit. It’s been a good habit and it’s led to a certain set of skills. For instance, I can both stay awake at the wheel to audiobooks and fall asleep at night to them. Amazing, I know. I’m like the Dos Equis man of audiobooks.
I read lots of fiction, a little poetry, and of course in and on the Bible and theology. Then there’s history. I got on a Napoleon Bonaparte kick, spurred on by my shocking and profound ignorance, and gobbled up several on the man and his era. I read a few on the American founding and a few more on history of the Kings and Queens of England and surrounding nations. I love that stuff and keep reading more and more each year.
But this is the inevitable thing. After reading several history books last year, I’m more convinced than ever that I know nothing and should probably never open my mouth again. I’m also more informed than ever. How is this happening? I know, I know. “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” Thank you, Socrates. By the way, I loved you in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.
I’ve never been and never will be a scholar. The only academy I’m really into is probably Starfleet Academy. My life isn’t going to be about serving in that crucial area. Others will go there, people who know how to tie a bow tie and who care less about West Virginia football. I want to be informed, not to be a fool, and understand what I can and ought to know. But you’ve come to the wrong shop for scholarly brilliance. (And all God’s people said, “Duh. Like, obviously.”)
I feel like I’ll never know enough to be as sound as I’d like to be, to be free from being found wanting in some important area. But maybe that’s misplaced desire. At least it’s not the identity-defining thing I can make of it.
For the Christian, this is our Father’s world. In addition to the “knowing you know nothing” cliche, let me add another. It’s not what you know, but who. For those in Christ, it’s not exactly that, though. It seems more apt to say that because of who we know, we can know everything, because he whom we know is everything. And on top of that we have everything in him who has and is all.
We don’t have to know everything because we know him and have him who knows and has everything. This is a relief.
And more than the thrill and relief of knowing him is the astounding news that we are known by him. (I’m talking about Jesus.) So, though ignorance is not any kind of thing to be desired (rather the opposite), we can be assured that the world isn’t spinning based on our achievement of omniscience. We, who were once far off and strange, are near and known. Good news!
Jesus knows me, this I love.