"The Things We Know"
Sometimes the paths of life lead us into uncertainty and even bewilderment. We don't know how to proceed, or perhaps even if we will proceed. In such times, we fall back on that which we do know.
"The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law" (Deuteronomy 30:20).
What do we know to be true as born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ? Many things, actually. We know He is present. "I will be with thee." We know that in our troubles, He is "very present." We know that He is active on our behalf, regardless of appearance or how things may seem. "God… worketh all things after the counsel of His own will." We know that "all things work together for good to them that love God." Most importantly, we know He is lovingly devoted to our bests interests and our conformity to the spiritual and moral character of the Lord Jesus. "If God be for us, who can be against us?"… "He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Isaiah 43:2; Psalm 46:1; Ephesians 3:11; Romans 8:28; 31; Philippians 1:6). These and numerous other Scriptural assurances glimmer with God's light along dark paths as the things we know guide us through the things we don't know.
We fill our hearts with the Word of God in order to see Him in venues of the obvious and the obscure. He is there in both, lovingly present and dynamically active regardless of our sight and understanding. This we know because it is true. "Thy Word is truth" (John 17:17). Moreover, the Holy Spirit bears witness in our hearts. "The Spirit beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God" (Romans 8:31). And this we know because every believer has a backlog of confirmations that we venture upon no path that does not shine with God's light, whether we can see it or not. "The Light shineth in darkness" (John 1:5).
We've shared this narrative on numerous occasions. It seems appropriate again:
The little boy could not believe his ears when one evening, his father announced, "Tomorrow, son, tomorrow it's time for you to go into the deep, dark woods!"
The boy had often watched his father venture into the vast stand of trees that surrounded the family property. One of the things he loved and admired most about his dad was the man's seeming fearlessness concerning the dangers that might lie in the woods.
"Uh, Dad, did you say you think I should go into the deep, dark woods?" The boy gulped as he replied, barely looking at his father because he so feared that he might have correctly heard his dad's words.
The man replied without hesitation, even smiling as he did so. "Yes, son, tomorrow's the day. I have no doubt you're ready, and I'll wake you up at the crack of dawn for a good breakfast, and then, and then a journey into the forest! Your first journey!
The boy slept little through a long, restless night. When he did, nightmares of what might lie in the forest startled him to wakefulness. How could it be that his dad thought he was ready for the deep, dark woods? What might really lie in their fearful depths? What was his father thinking???
Just before sunup, the boy heard a knock on his bedroom door. His father's voice followed. "Son, are you awake? It's time. Today's the day! It's time for you to go into the deep dark woods!" Once again, the little boy heard excitement in his dad's voice. "Yes, Dad, I'm awake" he responded. "Great son," said the man. Get your clothes on and come to the kitchen. I'm making a big breakfast for you so you'll be ready for your big day!"
The little boy arose and began to get dressed. As he put on his clothes, he thought about his father. First, he remembered again the courage and bravery of his dad. But then, he considered even more of how much his father loved him. He knew this was true! His dad showed him every day! So there must be something his father knew that the little boy didn't know. "If Dad thinks I'm ready, well…. I know I can trust him!"
The boy ate little of his breakfast as the sun rose on what would be a fateful day. "Not hungry, son?" asked the father. The boy looked at his dad, still feeling uncertain about things ahead, but also trusting the man even more as he looked into his eyes. "No sir, not really" said the boy, barely speaking above a whisper. "I guess I'm just thinking about the trip into the deep, dar… The boy cut his sentence short, not even wanting to say the words.
His dad smiled. "Ok son, get your backpack. I'll meet you out by the poplars," referring to the stand of hardwoods where an opening allowed entrance into the forest.
When the boy arrived at the spot, his dad was not yet there. This gave him time to look into the woods. They were beautiful, no doubt, especially as the rays of the rising sun shone through the branches and leaves. The forest has fascinated him for as long as he could remember, from a safe distance, and he often lingered as he watched his dad disappear into the trees for his trips. How brave was his father! And how much the little boy felt he was not like him! He felt great shame and disappointment with himself. Tears formed in his eyes just as he heard his father's footsteps approaching. He gulped hard, and thought to himself again, "I can trust my dad!"
The man reached his son, and put his arm around the boy's shoulder. "All right, son, are you ready?" The boy quickly wiped a tear and looked up at his father. "Yes, Dad, I think so. I think I'm ready."
The father replied with great enthusiasm. "Me too, son! I've been waiting for this moment since the day your were born! There are so many things in these deep, dark woods I want to show you. So let's get going!"
The boy's father set out toward the opening in the poplars. His son, however, stood still, frozen in his tracks by the words he had just heard. Once again, he could barely speak, but as best he could, the boy called out to his father. "Dad… Dad, are you going with me?"
The father stopped and turned to face his son. He smiled and reached out for the boy in a motion that invited him to come and join him. "Of course I'm going with you, son! You're not yet ready for a journey into the deep, dark woods by yourself. Someday you will be, but this is not that day. No, not yet. Yes, I'm going with you into the deep, dark woods. We're going together, and I'm going to show you things I could never describe to you with words. It will be wonderful, and like I said, I've been waiting for this moment since the day you were born!" The man looked into his son's eyes. "Are you ready?"
The little boy was ready! In an instant, everything had changed in his heart. His dad was going with him! Now he was more ready to journey into the deep, dark woods than anything he had ever pondered doing. His brave, strong father would accompany him every step of the way, The vast forest no longer portended of fear and uncertainty, but rather promised the wonder of discovery and awe. "Yes, I'm ready, Dad" the boy almost shouted. "I'm ready to go into the deep, dark woods!"
Whence we go, we go not alone. Our Heavenly Father journeys with us every step of the way. It matters not whether we venture unto shining summits and vistas of beauty, or into deep, dark woods that threaten with seeming peril. Whence we go, we shall not go alone. "I am with you always" promised the Lord Jesus, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee" (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5). In Christ, God gives to us Himself. Thus, we can face anything and everything with the assurance that the Lord Jesus will be all we need Him to be. Always with us, never to leave us - this is the promise of He who cannot lie. "Are you ready?" He asks. Let us respond, "Oh yes, Father, I am ready!"
"The Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge."
Weekly Memory Verse
"A man that hath friends must show himself friendly."