“There are things we know. There are things we don’t know. And then there are things we think we know but don’t.” I heard this at an IF conference for women. And then it was brought back to my mind when I heard the song, “Losing My Religion” by Lauren Daigle. Then my heart broke with the thought that there are so many people out there hurting because they think they know God, but what they know is the bondage of religion absent of a relationship with Him. My heart broke because I have been that girl hiding her brokenness instead of lifting it up to the One who can redeem it.
What they know is the shame of falling short, but they don’t know the grace waiting on the other side.
What they know is a white-knuckle grip on a pew and traditions, but they don’t know the freedom in being His hands and feet beyond four walls on a Sunday.
What they know is condemnation and distance, but they don’t know loving correction and ever-present connection.
What they know is an impossible standard, but they don’t know that we were never meant to live up to it apart from Him.
What they know is how to choose the largest stone and throw it with devastating accuracy, but they don’t know that the same blood poured out to cover their own sin was poured out to cover that sin too.
What they know is how to craft an infinite number of masks to disguise the hurt and shame, but they don’t know that God’s heart is aching to meet them there.
What they know is fear, they don’t know redeeming love.If you are reading this, and your knowledge of God looks more like the first half of those statements, friend, my heart is broken for you and the lies you have been sold. But know, that is not what you were meant for. You were meant for a relationship, not the bondage of religion wrapped in legalism and shame overseen by a mysterious deity waiting to break you apart for every mistake.
I’ve been in that struggle, and it still haunts me some days. My first instinct for the longest time when something bad happened was to run from God, because if something bad was happening in my life, I had to have done something wrong, fallen short in some way, to bring this upon myself. I still fight that instinct some days. But that is not the Truth of God. That is the lie of the enemy meant to keep me from hitting my knees and crying out to God to meet me where I am. The reality is that we live in a broken world and sometimes bad things will happen. Sometimes the only reason for it is simply that we are living in this broken world. But just because there may not be any earth shattering, poetic reason for our suffering does not mean that there is no purpose to be found in it.
God wants every bit of us, chipped pieces and all! His Word tells us, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7). He made no mistake when He created us and asked us to go out into the world to share His love. If we were flawless and able to navigate every struggle in life with ease, how in the world would we point others to Him? How could we go out and tell a broken world that they need God, if we, ourselves, were not broken and in need of Him too?
I encourage you to take time and reflect on what it is you know or think you know of God. Take it to His word, call out to Him in prayer. See if the image you have of God was formed in truth or in lies. Or maybe in tiny little deviations from the Truth designed to be just close enough to deceive you and lead you away from a life of connection with a loving God who is desperately chasing after your heart. The enemy knows the Truth too, well enough to know how to distort it. Even Eve who walked in the garden with God before the fall of man was deceived by a twisted version of Truth.