As a child, I moved a few times but mingled with the locals. Despite freshman fears, in college, I was given instant friendship and ministry as God put me into the student movement InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. As a new teacher in Western Illinois, I needed to start over in introducing myself to a community. After four years, I can say with gratitude that I had a place there with friends and purpose. Now though, as I prepare to launch into the new Hungarian phase of this life God has given me, that old hope emerges again. And with it, concern.
Will my odd sense of humor be misconstrued? Am I inconsiderately extroverted? I know that I am a conflicted poser when it comes to music, movies, and books, but will others see it as charming or idiotic? Can new friends see past my facade and appreciate the work God is doing on flawed me? Can I be known here?
The glorious answer?
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,before you were born I set you apart..." Jeremiah 1:5Now, the Lord said this to Jeremiah as he was called to be a prophet to the nations. My point is that the Almighty God sees and knows us before we were even...us. (That tense shift is purposeful, by the way.) We, too, are set apart as we believe in Him, and we are known by Him better than we know ourselves. And people get to know us, too.
Finally, and before you think my desire in this life ends with others thinking I am great, let me leave you with the most profound idea that goes beyond being known for who I am. I--the selfish, small-minded, dishonest, flawed person that I am--can know the perfect and holy God. What is this eternal life that Christians speak of in hushed tones? Not floating on a cloud playing a harp endlessly.
"Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." John 17:3The One who knows us better than anyone else is so gracious that in a conceivable tidbit now and in all His glory later, we can know Him.
As I am thankful for faithful friends here, I hope to have meaningful friendships across the Atlantic. The God of the universe wants to be known, too, and has made it possible through His Son.