God Knows

Acts 1:15-26

In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, 16 “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” 18 (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 “For it is written in the Book of Psalms,

“‘May his camp become desolate,
    and let there be no one to dwell in it’;


“‘Let another take his office.’

21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” 23 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

Still Waters Respite | Mercer Arboretum | May 2023

Our time at seminary was challenging in many ways. We were two rather willful and self-defined (selfish???) individuals learning to live together, each dealing with our own issues as well as trying to navigate interfacing with the other. Diane’s degree (a B.S. in Biology) yielded a job as a cook in a local cafeteria. She would often say, “I pulled all-nighters for this?!?” She really did earn her PHT (Putting Hubby Through) degree! Then there was the challenging of getting up to speed on Greek, Hebrew, Old Testament History, Lutheran theology, preaching skills, and relational dynamics with others in my class. On top of that we were poor. Really poor. We survived, but it was lean pickings many months.

During those days, I bought Diane a little decorative wheel barrel that had a potted plant. It sat on our kitchen window shelf with “Bloom Where You’re Planted” on the side. It was a challenge to do so. In fact, we were always looking forward to things in the future: our first call, first child, first home and all things future. In the face of some of those challenges someone reminded us, “God knows your address.” In other words, your place in the world is not unknown to God. In fact we have a place in God’s heart.

When the Apostles were praying about the replacement for Judas, they prayed, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen…” This same thought has come to the fore in my work of helping congregations through the Call process for a new pastor. The first bullet point on the checklist that I share with any Call Committee in this process is “Bathe the entire process in prayer.” This has been an actual fact and practice, not just an item on the checklist. And the thought that God already knows who will be the next pastor of a congregation engaged in this process is comforting to those who trust God and seek his will. 

God already knows not only who the next pastor of a congregation will be. He also knows all your needs, your challenges, fears, hopes, hurts, and desires. Sometimes he must look past your desires (too often tainted by sin), and in his grace give us better things than we want. Because God’s knowledge is inexorably connected with his love, grace, faithfulness, and power, we can be confident that all will be well when we entrust ourselves to his provision, direction, and plan. It is a plan for our eternal good. I need to keep that firmly in mind. I suspect you do too.

  1. Barbara Rogers said:

    At our present church I have joined the prayer team which has several retired ministers on it – one who is Lutheran. The church is nondenominational but adheres to scripture and emphasizes prayer in all things. An active prayer life is a must for ALL Christians.

  2. Michael LiBassi said:

    Your devotion touched us on many levels today. Please pray for us as we struggle with our own decisions in the coming weeks. Thanks. Mike.

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