As I lay in bed last night I was acutely aware of how comfortable I was compared to many in Haiti who might be spending their third night buried under the rubble. Some would not survive the night unless they were rescued. I wasn’t feeling guilty because of my comfort, I was feeling intensely mindful of their great suffering.
And I prayed.
For their rescue. I prayed for the rescuers, for great leadership and ability to organize, to overcome immense obstacles. At once I felt grief, hope, love and resolve. As I write this, it occurs to me that I did not feel helpless. I felt connected.
As I prepare to teach this Sunday on What We Most Need to Know About God, it is very obvious that the answer has to start with the first four words of the question: what we most need. What do we most need? Our experience at the moment drastically affects what we most need to know about God.
The answer also depends on what one might already know about God. At my Boys’ Night Out the other night, a man said to me, “I used to say that I don’t believe in God, but a friend said that I shouldn’t say that, so I don’t say that any longer. I believe that there is a God, but he doesn’t care.” What does this person most need to know about God at this moment? That was the question going through my head as I responded to his statement.
What does God most want us to know?
John Stott, a great teacher of the Bible wrote a book on preaching, Between Two Worlds. The title describes the thesis, that to teach the Bible well one must stand between two worlds, the biblical world and our own. Coming from one point of view more than the other compromises the possibility of actually encountering God.
As I finish my prep for Sunday, doing my best to listen to God and to listen to real people like ourselves, I am excited. Because what we can know about God matters, desperately matters.