“I don’t know.”
You say it when someone asks you to do something and you aren’t sure how to answer. The words are uttered in annoyance by kids everywhere as parents inquire about homework, grades, and missing toys. “…Anymore” is tagged on when tragedies strike and we’re left in shock.
Feelings of doubt, loss, vulnerability, and betrayal often overcome us when we realize that we don’t know something that we think we should, or that we want to, or that we thought we already knew. Consequently, not knowing is something that we have to live with, but also something that many of us despise.
God has plenty to say on the subject to comfort those of us who really can’t stand not knowing:
You know what you need to.
If you find that you don’t know enough to make good life decisions, it might be worth asking what kind of life you are living. Scripture says that if your goal is to live a godly life for His glory and full of His goodness, then you’ll know what you need to know when you need to know it.
In 2 Peter 1:3 we read that:
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”
It’s your knowledge of Christ that ensures that you know what you need to when it counts.
Sure, you might not know if you made a mistake graduating from that college. You’ll never figure out if accepting that job over this one would have led to an earlier promotion. But you know Christ, and that means you know how to seek and obey. Further, you know that all things will work together for good because you love Him and follow Him (Romans 8:28).
You know that you can grow in knowledge.
At this exact moment, you might find that there are things you hope to know but don’t yet. You might hope to one day know what intimacy in marriage is like, for instance. Perhaps you’ve experienced hardship at length and little joy –you probably want to know what it is to revel in the joy of the Lord.
Trust, wait, and seek to know. Because you can be “growing in the knowledge of God” as you find that “God…fills you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way” (Colossians 1:9-10.)
Just because you don’t know it now doesn’t mean that you never will. If you need to know or God wants you to know it, then as you lean on Him, He’ll teach it to you.
You know enough to know what isn’t true.
Paul prayed in Colossians 2:2-4 that believers “may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.”
Notice the reason he prayed for people to have understanding, wisdom, and knowledge. Paul’s point was that in having such knowledge of Christ people wouldn’t be deceived. Because the light shines to expose the darkness.
Though your knowledge may not feel complete and there may be mysteries that you don’t have the answers to (so irksome!) you can at least know what isn’t true. You can know enough by knowing Christ to understand when something is deceptive –to keep away from what is “falsely called knowledge” (1 Timothy 6:20.)
You know that he knows.
Finding out that our preconceptions and assumptions were incorrect is tough and can seriously shake our faith and beliefs. Learning that there are things that will not be known in this life, like if a loved one went to heaven, is painful.
Part of resting in the Lord -finding comfort, hope, and joy in Him- is knowing that He knows. And letting that be that.
Psalm 139:6 proclaims:
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.”
Meanwhile, Psalm 147:5 echoes:
Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.”
Let that be enough. The same God who knows you, loves you, is perfect, and is above all – He knows all about it. So take a breath, hand the thoughts you’ve been turning over in your mind to the Lord, and set your mind on better things (Colossians 3:10).