When I was putting my Elijah to bed last night, he whispered something to me in his grovelly voice, the one he uses when he’s trying to be quiet. His eyes darted downward as he fingered Jerry, his favorite stuffed giraffe. Then he spoke.
“Daddy, God even knows the opposite of things.”
I smiled at him, and asked him what it means to him that God knows the opposite of things.
“It means that when you’re loud, God hears the quiet parts of you, and when you’re quiet, God hears the loud parts of you.”
Sometimes Elijah’s voice is loud and it spins out of control, even for him, I think. And sometimes he pulls inward, and it’s hard to know what he’s thinking. Sometimes it’s hard to know where he is.
Not for God.
I told Elijah something that I believe to be utterly true: “Elijah, please keep teaching me things about God, because I believe there are ways in which you know God better than I do.”
He smiled, his eyes shining with pride, and said, “I don’t know very much.”
I disagreed with him.
So, what if God knows the opposite?
How many times a day do you feel taken out by your own feelings, as they pinball around inside of you, bruising you as they search for a way out? Are you the kind of person who looks much more serene than you actually are? Is it hard for you to find a voice to match the emotion that is bubbling underneath?
What if God sees and knows what’s bubbling? What if God hears the loud that is masked by the quiet?
Or are you sometimes startled by your own voice, as it booms and rattles outside of you once it has finally found a crack to escape? Is it hot and furious, your feelings transformed from what they were into something much louder and bigger than you intended?
What if God sees and knows how it began inside of you? What if God hears the quiet that is masked by the loud?
What if God knows and sees and loves us, even when we can’t know or see or love ourselves?
Here’s what I’m coming to believe: God is so utterly for us, that God sees what we do not see about ourselves, and God gives us the benefit of the doubt. We feel like God is asking for a pound, and that God must scoff at our offering of an ounce. I believe God sees our offering as beautiful and whole, a beginning.
God smiles and knows us. It is enough.
“You know what I’m going to say long before I say it. It is true, Eternal One, that You know everything and everyone. You have surrounded me on every side, behind me and before me, and You have Your hand gently on my shoulder. It is the most amazing feeling to know how deeply you know me, inside and out; the realization of it is so great that I cannot comprehend it.” Psalm 139:4-6 (The Voice)