February 18, 2022

Sight Unseen / Brandon A. Evans

He already knows

Brandon A. EvansSometimes prayer becomes overwhelming for me, especially when it goes unanswered, or seems to be unheard.

It’s as though there’s a weight building on my shoulders; a certainty that Jesus won’t understand my concerns unless I can find a way to explain them to him correctly.

And the more I strain to do just that, the more I exhaust myself. My words leave my lips and bounce against a soundless wall, and the light of a living conversation dims into a maddening compulsion to quantify, to control.

And ultimately, to distrust.

To disbelieve.

And disbelief tumbles into bitter and barren places; to the honest realization that all too often I don’t really believe that Jesus knows or loves me.

I look at the artwork of his somber face and see a distant king who loves but loves coldly. He is not the sort to be patient with anything but the right prayers and the right actions, both of which I stumble over endlessly.

As for us, we are but mere subjects in his kingdom and his plans are the final word, decreed without our consent.

This feeling, this sense of dread and the continued effort to overcome it by my own strength, would persevere a lifetime if not for grace.

At least, the grace to ask the question: how could I really think all that of God, the giver of life and redeemer of the world? The one who watched the long ages of creation waiting for us, longing for our attention, preparing life eternal for us?

Jesus Christ is not some savior who ascended to heaven only to barely take notice of our cries.

He misses nothing. He has counted each grain of sand from shore to ocean’s depth; heard every peal of thunder on distant planets forever beyond our reach; felt the whisper of atoms warmed by stars that have no name. All the universe is known to him.

But more than that—so much more—he knows you and me: through and through, all the way down.

There is nothing about us he does not know, no secret we could possibly keep.

He knows what you think of him and also what you believe he’s spoken to you in prayer and story and symbol. He knows what your dreams are and why they mean so much to you.

He knows why you hurt, too.

In the end, Jesus Christ needs no explanations, no excuses, no arguments or tears or worries.

He already knows.

And it all matters to him.

God’s will for us is not something made to steal our individuality. It is not an immovable map of our life, cold and solid and planned outside our concern. It is a living thing given constant refreshment and breath from the God who is Love.

To believe that is to come to a place where control fades to trust.

Even I, with all my doubts, can begin to surrender my efforts, letting my will fall into his and flow with it. For they are not meant to be separate, or at odds. His will is my ideal will. It is always meant to be our will, wound and woven together into a grand tapestry.

God made each of us, after all, and has not missed—could never miss—the slightest thing in our hearts. They are all accounted for, all safe in his care—and each of them beyond our worry of his misunderstanding.

In that restful peace, we can strain our ears to hear in his voice the words we cannot give ourselves:

You are enough.

(Sight Unseen is an occasional column that explores God and the world. Brandon A. Evans is the online editor and graphic designer of The Criterion and a member of St. Susanna Parish in Plainfield.) †

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