January 24, 2022 by Linda Opp
In the middle of a wakeful night, I crept down the dark hall to the spare bedroom, where I could turn on a light and read myself back into sleepiness without disturbing my husband. Unfortunately, I'd forgotten that a few days earlier I'd cleaned out a closet and stacked a bunch of stuff in that same hall, to be dealt with later. The pile included several pointy wooden objects. However, disaster in the darkness was averted by a stack of old couch pillows that I plowed into first, preventing me from impaling myself on the pointy things.
I reminded myself that I shouldn't leave things in the hall (they're gone now), and then I got to thinking about the numerous potential disasters I've avoided in my life. Actually, it's surprising that I, or any of us, survived childhood, considering all the things that threatened our lives. For example, when I was a kid there were no such things as seat belts, which is unthinkable today. And without going into details, I'll say that I've been saved from my own carelessness and ignorance more than a few times.
And those are just the instances I'm aware of. Who knows how often I've been rescued from circumstances I had no clue existed? A famous (or infamous) former US military adviser once said, "As we know, there are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say, we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don't know we don't know."
This is wisdom for God's people. Although the subject of the quote is military strategy, it also applies to the severe limits of human knowledge when it comes to awareness of God's goodness in our lives. We will never know all the times he rescued us, silently directed us, or set our feet back on the path to serve him. We owe him everything.
We have limited ability when it comes to controlling our physical environment, as well as the unpredictable actions of other people. There's a lot we don't know and can't control. But beyond that are the unknown unknowns, and that's where things can get scary.
If you park your mind there, it will make you never want to leave your house again. (Although I've just demonstrated that there are plenty of dangers in your own home). I don't know if the world only seems more frightening and out of control than it used to be, or if it really is. Either way, the knowns and the known unknowns are overwhelming enough, not to mention the unknown unknowns. Sometimes we wonder – is God wise enough? Is he strong enough? Is he truly in charge? How you answer those questions will determine how you survive the insanity and uncertainty.
We don't live in a random universe. God knows all the things we know, plus the things we suspect but don't know for sure, plus the things far beyond our imaginations that we don't know we don't know.
He's a God to be trusted, because he's already brought us this far, and his hand is firmly on the future.
"As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people both now and forevermore." (Psalm 125:2)
"He (Jesus) is before all things, and in Him all things hold together." (Colossians 1:17)