Acorns From Oakes

Seeing With Our Father's Eyes

What I Learned After I Knew It All…

I’ve noticed a mystery in my life…now that I am old. When I was young I knew a lot more. Oh yes…I had all the answers. As a young preacher, fresh out of school, I used to wonder why more of the members didn’t come to me for the benefit of my wisdom in counseling. Then as the years began to pass, they did start to come. I then wished I could go back to the old days when they didn’t come. I found out that not only did I not have all the answers…but that I had very few.

I used to feel I had a pretty good understanding of God. I thought I knew what God would do in the majority of cases. I thought I had most things figured out. I was wrong. As I read the Bible…trying to keep my heart open…God surprised me regularly…even shocked me. He didn’t always do what I expected.

I have found that the old adage is very true…the more I came to understand, the more I saw how little I really understood in the huge scheme of things. But contrary to what I used to think when I heard someone say such a thing, this is NOT a bad thing. The journey toward this discovery has been so worthwhile. More and more I am willing to let God be God…not myself…not my own understanding. More and more I am willing for God to be true and every man a liar.  More and more I am wanting to trust Him when I know I don’t have the answers. I have something far better than all the answers. I have God as my Father. The true GodWho alone is God…the only One qualified to be God.

I was wondering if you’d share something you learned a while after you knew it all…

I love you…glad to be on this journey with you…am blessed by your friendship in ways past counting. Feel His pleasure in you today!

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7 thoughts on “What I Learned After I Knew It All…

  1. I think Psalm 115:3 is best – God is in heaven and does whatever He wants. Chris Wright’s new book with the title, “The God I Do Not Understand” makes it clear there are just somethings we will not know. We all have are view of God and that affects our thinking and study. JB Philips in his book “Your God Is Too Small” lists a number of ideas such as a policeman, a grandfather; to which we could add such ideas as a judge who will cross and dot every “t” and “i” or santa claus in the sky.

    In reality we know little of God; only what He has chosen to reveal to us, and even in that we have great difficulties as finite creatures. Jesus came to show us the Father, so by looking at His life we can get a glimpse of who God is. Yet we must understand that we will never have God all figured out, no matter how are we try.

    Good points Doug. I think most of us come to realize this as we grow older and gain experience.

    THANKS FOR CHECKING IN, GEORGE. I AGREE THAT PSALM 115:3 IS VERY MUCH TO THE POINT HERE…AND WOULD ONLY ADD THAT WE CAN ABSOLUTELY TRUST THE GOD WHO DOES WHAT HE WANTS…BECAUSE WHAT HE WANTS IS OUR WELFARE, ISN’T IT?
    SOME LESSONS I’VE LEARNED HAVE COME THE HARD WAY…AND WHEN I SAY HARD, I MEAN HEART-BREAKING, MIND-BOGGLING, KNOCK-YOUR-SOCKS-OFF HARD. AND THOUGH I WOULD NEVER CHOOSE, ON MY OWN, THE DISCIPLINARY METHODS I EXPERIENCED…I WOULDN’T TRADE THE LESSONS FOR ANYTHING. THESE METHODS HELPED TO TEACH ME THAT JUST WHEN I HAD GOD ALL FIGURED OUT…I ACTUALLY DIDN’T.
    GOD BLESS YOU, GEORGE AND ALL YOURS.

  2. I find out each day how little I understand about prayer.

    Prayer has been a source of struggle for me from day one it seems. The most comfortable I felt with prayer was actually when I had quit going to church and was trying to find my own way to God. I had watched a movie and one of the characters was talking about praying. His friend said, “Do you think you can change God’s mind?” he replied, “Prayer doesn’t change God, it changes me.” Wow … that made so much sense to me. Of course. I am praying for my own sake. Not to change God’s mind, but to change mine.

    I really felt like I had a grasp on it. Prayer was my way of preparing myself for God’s will. His will was going to happen no matter what and by praying I could get my heart ready to accept it.

    Then someone told me that prayer does change God. What?! No, I finally understood it my way … I didn’t want to see it differently. I was much more comfortable with the thought that God was doing His thing and I was doing mine. I didn’t like the idea that my prayers really mattered to Him. I was too uncomfortable with our relationship and actually liked the separation that my view of prayer gave me.

    Now I’m trying to relearn prayer all over again. Most of the time I can just pray and trust that God cares and is listening. But it’s still hard for me to think it could actually “make” anything happen. I don’t understand that at all.

    But, I have figured something out about myself. I pray for God to show me things somtimes. Show me if this is the right decision … show me what is best to do in this situation. Then I wait. On one thing in particular He’s not “shown” me anything. At least that’s what I kept thinking. Then the other day I realized maybe He is showing me … to just stay put and be still. I realized, I always expect His answers to be contrary to my will and uncomfortable. So I don’t look at what is already happening and think, just maybe THIS is His will.

    I’m glad that there’s always room for learning …

    PAIGE, THERE’S SO MUCH OF WHAT YOU SAID ABOUT PRAYER THAT STRIKES A FAMILIAR CHORD WITH ME. IT’S ALMOST LIKE THE MORE I TRY TO THINK ABOUT, TALK ABOUT OR ANALYZE PRAYER, THE MORE LOST I FEEL IN THE PRACTICE OF IT. (I KNOW…I KNOW…I STILL BELIEVE WE SHOULD STUDY ABOUT PRAYER.) THE WILL OF GOD AS IT RELATES TO PRAYER IS OFTEN UNDISCERNIBLE. I KNOW THERE ARE BIBLE EXAMPLES OF THINGS GOD DID IN DIRECT ANSWER TO PRAYER. I DO NOT, HOWEVER, HAVE IT FIGURED OUT…BECAUSE I DON’T HAVE GOD FIGURED OUT. WHY IS STEPHEN STONED AND PETER DELIVERED? WHY IS THE LAME MAN HEALED (ACTS 3) WHILE PAUL’S THORN REMAINED? ON AND ON GO THE QUESTIONS.
    SO I ADMIT CONFUSION TOO.
    HOWEVER…MAYBE THE MOST PROFOUND THING, OUTSIDE THE BIBLE, THAT I’VE READ SO FAR ABOUT PRAYER IS THIS…”THE ONLY WAY TO FAIL IN PRAYER, IS TO NOT SHOW UP.” THAT COMFORTS ME. I DON’T KNOW WHAT GOD WILL DO…BUT I WILL PRAY. I DON’T THINK I PRAY RIGHT…BUT I WILL PRAY. I DON’T THINK I PRAY ENOUGH…BUT I WILL PRAY. IT SEEMS I OFTEN DON’T SEE MY PRAYERS ANSWERED…BUT I WILL PRAY. WHEN I WANT SOMETHING SO MUCH…AND I AM CONFLICTED ABOUT WHETHER GOD WILLS IT TO BE SO…STILL I AM GOING TO PRAY. WHEN I FEEL LIKE I AM ONLY BOTHERING HIM…I WILL STILL PRAY. WHEN I FEEL SELFISH…I’LL ASK HIM TO HELP ME OVER IT, BUT WILL DO SO WHILE PRAYING.
    PAIGE, I WAS BLESSED BY YOUR INSIGHT IN YOUR LAST FULL PARAGRAPH HERE…YES…SOMETIMES GOD MAY NOT SHOW US SOMETHING DIFFERENT BECAUSE WE ARE ON THE RIGHT TRACK. SO…WHEN WE DON’T FEEL WE HAVE EVERYTHING FIGURED OUT, LET’S KEEP PRAYING…AND TRY TO TAKE THE NEXT RIGHT STEP…EVEN IF IT IS A BABY STEP.
    AND I AGREE THAT WE MUST KEEP ON GROWING IN THE GRACE AND KNOWLEDGE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.

  3. I think I’ve finally learned that it is ok that I still have a lot to learn. Just because I don’t have all the answers does not make me a bad person. I thought I had to know everything. Get everything right. Be able to have an answer for every situation. That was a sure fire way to make myself miserable!

    Considering all the mistakes I have made in my life, I don’t know how I could even be worried about how others perceive me! I really only need to worry about how God sees me. (And from what I understand…He sees His Son when He looks at me. How cool is that!?) So I want to find out what pleases God and do that. If I don’t know the answer, so what. God knows and judges my heart and my intentions…not my superficial knowledge!

    I want to continue to learn…and know…but not so I can be seen as “having all the answers” ….but so that I can give glory to God and let others see His beauty.

    GOD SAVE US FROM THE SPIRIT OF “I HAVE ARRIVED.” I AM CAPABLE OF BEING INSPIRED BY ALL KINDS OF PEOPLE…BUT I AM PARTICULARLY GRATEFUL WHENEVER I MEET ONE OF THOSE SPECIAL OLDER CHRISTIANS WHO ARE STILL POSSESSED OF A SENSE OF WONDER WHERE THEIR SAVIOR IS CONCERNED. THEY STILL DRINK OF HIS SPIRIT. THEY STILL BELIEVE THE BEST IS YET TO BE. THEY CAN’T PHYSICALLY DO MANY OF THE THINGS THEY USED TO DO, BUT THEIR SPIRITS NEVER CRYSTALLIZED. THEIR FAITH IS STILL GROWING. THEIR LOVE OF JESUS AND OTHERS IS WONDERFUL. I REALLY HOPE I CAN FOLLOW IN THEIR GLOWING FOOTSTEPS…BECAUSE AGE-WISE I AM GETTING VERY CLOSE TO BEING ONE OF THOSE OLDER CHRISTIANS (I THINK IT WILL HAPPEN NEXT WEEK…SMILE).
    AND YES, SHERRY, IT IS VERY COOL THAT GOD LOOKS AT US THROUGH THE LENS OF HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON…ALL THE UGLINESS GONE… AMAZING…AMAZING GRACE!
    I LOVE THE REASONS YOU GAVE FOR WANTING TO CONTINUE TO LEARN…YOU ARE RIGHT ON TRACK. A HEART LIKE YOURS WILL NOT FAIL IN GIVING GOD GLORY AND REVEALING HIS BEAUTY TO OTHERS. KEEP SHINING.

  4. I like the part where you said “Let God Be God”. When I was younger I thought I had to tell everyone “if they were not in the Church of Christ” they were on the wrong track. I always felt an uneasyness when I was with people at work, friends or church members that we needed to do something (and that something was me trying to be a super power) not letting God really be God. God needs to work in people’s lives and not me trying to tell them or give off the signals all the time that they were wrong in the church they were going to. Today I just let people be people around me and talk to me. I have opened up great avenues of us needing each other and talking about God things, etc, etc, etc. They talk to me about things going right and things going wrong in their lives.

    Adrian always told me that he always felt more people were going to make it to Heaven than some people think. I think he was right. These kind of things have taught me just what Doug said “Let God Be God” and of course petition God to help us along the way so we can work thru God to do what we can. But I will never feel the pressure to take on the whole world again, that they are wrong and I am right. I am learning that “Letting God Be God” works much better. There are people out there in this World that Love God and Worship him that I have never met. There are people out there that need to know God and if we are the best friend to them we can be and “Let God Be God” it will work much, much better.

    Yeah if we would be open with ourselves we who think we knew it all know that we still have a lot to learn and will be ever learning until the day we leave this life.

    Sis Gail

    SISTER, GAIL…IT IS A HEAVY LOAD TO BEAR IN LIFE…THE WEIGHT OF A LOST WORLD. WHILE IT IS SUPPOSED TO GET TO OUR HEARTS, WE AREN’T UP TO THE TASK OF BEARING SUCH A LOAD ALONE. WE ARE NOT IN THIS KINGDOM MISSION BY OURSELVES, ARE WE? OF COURSE WE WANT TO BE HELPFUL IN SHARING THE SAVING TRUTH WITH OTHER PEOPLE…BUT WE ARE NOT REQUIRED TO BE IN A PANIC ABOUT IT. JESUS WENT ABOUT DOING GOOD…SAYING GOOD…LIVING GOOD…AND DOORS OF OPPORTUNITY OPENED UP TO HIM. HE DIDN’T HAVE TO GO BREAKING DOWN THOSE DOORS. ONE OF THESE DAYS THE CHURCH WILL FIGURE OUT THAT EVANGELISM ISN’T SOMETHING WE DO…IT’S SOMETHING WE ARE. OUR LIVES ARE TO BE “GOSPELING” TO OTHERS. AND THEN, ONE DAY, IT JUST MAY BE THAT THEY WILL FEEL THEY CAN FINALLY ASK US THE REASON FOR THE HOPE THAT’S WITHIN US. AND WE WILL GET TO SPEAK THE MOST BEAUTIFUL OF ALL NAMES…THE SINGULAR NAME IN WHICH ALONE THERE IS SALVATION…THE SWEETEST NAME ON MORTAL TONGUE…JESUS!
    I’M GLAD WE ARE SHARING THIS JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY TOGETHER. GOD RICHLY BLESS YOU AND JESUS GIVE YOU PEACE IN BELIEVING.

  5. I’m so glad most of us have left the era in which we knew it all and moved on to embracing a new paradigm for our life in Christ, one that is captured in the “journey” language that we now use to describe our walk. Like my aunt Gail, I remember the days (to some extent) when I was part of the group that had arrived (reached our destination) in Christ and were in a place of waiting for His return and begging others to join us in waiting. This “arrival” mentality led to a lot of creative jokes about the church of Christ, but it didn’t do a whole lot to encourage participation by others (at least not in the last half century). When we open our eyes to the God that Job confronted in Job 37ff (esp. there)…it doesn’t take us very long to realize that we will never be able to plumb the depths of the knowledge of our Creator. When Christ followers acknowledge this…the arrival becomes a journey and the journey becomes exciting as we characterize our walk with the language of discovery and encounter fascinating truths and people along the way…all of which teach us and lead us closer Home.

    YOU MAKE A LOT OF SENSE, SON. THANKS FOR SHARING. YOU HAVE BEEN SUCH AN INTEGRAL PART IN MY JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY. ON THE DAY YOU CAME INTO MY LIFE, GOD DID AMAZING THINGS TO MY HEART. AND HE HAS CONTINUED DOING THE SAME EVER SINCE. I LOVE YOU, SON. MAY GOD FULFILL YOUR EVERY DESIRE FOR GOODNESS.

  6. Email Girl on said:

    Honestly, at first when I read this all I could think was that there was nothing I was ever confident in. That is an accurate observation in many areas of my life, indeed, but just as I was about to give up and say I was never confident in anything, God showed me some things that I’ve learned in the last year…some “know better now” kinds of things.

    I know now that God is going to love me whether I “feel it” that day or not. I’m learning how to believe that He delights in me and finds me to be significant.

    I know now that I need to leave judgments up to God. It is not my job to sort out who’s done right or wrong. I’ve learned that Jesus loved everyone and that is the only example I need to follow.

    I know now that if God has forgiven someone then I have to also do so willingly. Some amazing gifts in my life have come from this lesson. I know that more gifts will come from it in time too.

    I know now that things that have happened to me in the past and the way I’ve been treated by some people, does not define who I am. I’ve not finished this lesson…I am learning who I am without those people…and its an amazing journey.

    DEAR E-MAIL GIRL,
    I LOVE THE HOPEFULNESS I DETECT IN YOUR WORDS HERE. THE LESSONS YOU MENTIONED ARE SO VALUABLE. TO BELIEVE EVEN OVER AGAINST FEELINGS THAT GOD LOVES YOU AND DELIGHTS IN YOU AND CHERISHES YOU…THIS IS VITAL TO OUR CONTINUING WITH HIM AND GIVING HIM THE OPPORTUNITIES HE WANTS TO COME INTO OUR LIVES MORE AND MORE. AND YES, ISN’T IT A GREAT RELIEF TO GET OUT OF THE JUDGING BUSINESS AND LET GOD HANDLE IT? SO GOOD! YOUR LESSON ON FORGIVING CAN BE VERY DIFFICULT TO LEARN, CAN’T IT? IN FACT…FOR ME, IT’S ONE OF THOSE AREAS THAT SORT OF WAX AND WANE. SOME THINGS ARE VERY, VERY DIFFICULT TO FORGIVE. BUT YOU ARE RIGHT, IF WE WISH TO EMBRACE THE FORGIVENESS GOD OFFERS US, WE HAVE TO ALLOW HIM TO OFFER IT TO OTHERS TOO. AND I AM SO GLAD YOU HAVE COME TO THE CONCLUSION YOU MENTIONED IN YOUR FINAL PARAGRAPH. YOU ARE EXACTLY RIGHT…THOSE PEOPLE FROM THE PAST WHO HURT YOU WERE NOT DEFINING YOU, BUT THEMSELVES. ALLOW YOUR HEART TO KEEP LISTENING TO ALL THAT YOU MEAN TO OUR FATHER GOD.
    IT WAS A JOY FOR ME TO READ YOUR FAITH IN YOUR COMMENT. YOU HAVE SO MUCH TO OFFER…AND THERE ARE SO MANY WHO NEED IT.
    MAY GOD BLESS YOU TODAY.

  7. Paulo on said:

    Just dropping by.Btw, your website has great content!

    THANKS FOR DROPPING BY PAULO. VISIT ANYTIME. GOD LOVES YOU, TFS!

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