Fully Known

It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them. (Hosea 11:3-4)

When my son was younger, he had to undergo a short stint in speech therapy. It was a preemptive measure to make sure he’d hit his developmental milestones properly. Fortunately, in little time he made great strides in extending his vocabulary. Really, what led to the entire ordeal was his inability to communicate due to the simple fact he’d become so reliant on my wife and myself.

Parents, you may know what I’m talking about. Your own child, with their unique language variations, can be understood by you when no one else can decipher a word they’re saying.  My son had simply developed a means of communicating that worked for us as a family, but it didn’t translate to teachers and evaluators. So, we arranged speech therapy to help him better communicate with people besides his parents, parents who knew his laughs, cries, squeals, and whines, along with where and how they applied.

As I reflect on the experience, it made me think about how we relate to God, a divine creator who also cares for us the same way a loving parent cares for their child. Our spiritual relationship,  however, goes to a much deeper level of understanding that surpasses verbal communication.  God knows us down to our hearts, our motivations, and those buried desires/concerns that remain unspoken. Truly, there is no one who can or will understand you in the same way you are understood as God’s beloved child.

In the Old Testament book of Hosea, the prophet communicates God’s love for Israel with parental language. God is the one who lifts the people like “a little child to the cheek.” It is from God we discover a capacity for love that is unmatched. We have examples of this love to a certain degree through the care and consideration of others. We understand God’s provision of love through the connections we have with one another, family and friends. All the while, we also know there is no substitute for the God who loves us to the very depths of our souls.

Sometimes, we can become convinced that voicing our concerns or our desires requires an extensive theological vocabulary, some form of intermediary, or elaborate prayerful treatises.  Instead, I believe God understands us when others don’t or even when we struggle to understand ourselves. Our divine creator, our Heavenly parent, holds us like a little child to comfort us,  heal us, and love us in a way that we can’t experience anywhere else. God knows us in a way that even our garbled attempts at communication are rendered clear as day, and in our desire to be understood we find,  as Paul put it in 1 Corinthians 13, that we are fully known.

— Trent Sessoms
Senior Pastor


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