Only what we need to know

  • Jan. 22, 2011 4:00 p.m.

God knows what you are going though.

The apostle Paul was in a Roman dungeon for his faithfulness to the gospel.

But one night Jesus paid him a visit. The Lord appeared to Paul and said, “Be encouraged, Paul. Just as you have been a witness to me here in Jerusalem, you must preach the Good News in Rome as well.” – Acts 23:11.

Jesus was revealing to the great apostle that he was more than aware of his situation. Just because he was in a prison didn’t mean that God had lost track of him. That is the hope of the believer.

Jesus is there with us in our “prisons,” as well. For some people, it is a literal jail cell they are in because they have broken the law. Yet, as they have asked for God’s forgiveness, Jesus is with them there in that prison cell.

For others, they are in prison because of their faith. Samuel Rutherford of Scotland wrote to a friend from his prison cell, where he was suffering for his faith. “Jesus Christ came into my cell last night and every stone flashed like a ruby.”

God met him in a powerful way.

Maybe you are in a different kind of prison right now, the prison of a hospital bed. You would love to get up and just walk out, but you can’t.

Even so, Jesus is there in that hospital room, convalescent home, or room in your home, saying, “Be courageous. You are not alone, and I am fully aware of your suffering.”

Perhaps it is a prison cell of mourning, because of the loss of a loved one through death. Whatever or wherever your prison is, Jesus is there with you now.

Jesus also knows what lies ahead. That is why He came to Paul in his hour of need, because He knew he would need this special touch.

Paul was not really privy to what was going on all around him at this point. He did not know that 40 men had taken an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul.

Sometimes, ignorance can be bliss. Many times, it’s really a good thing that we don’t know all that is swirling around us in both the supernatural and natural realm.

God reveals to us as much as we need to know, when we need to know it. Not necessarily more and certainly not less, but what we need to know. Your troubles, though unexpected, did not come as a surprise to God.

The military has a term it uses for sensitive information. If it is necessary for you to know something, it’s on a “need-to-know basis.” In the same way, God gives us what we “need to know,” when we need it.

Isn’t it strange that the things we most wish were removed from our lives are often the very things that God is using to shape us and make us into the believer of character He wants us to be.

Regardless of the cause, none of your problems could happen without God’s permission.

Everything that happens to a child of God is Father-filtered, and he intends to use it for good even when Satan and others mean it for bad.

Harry Loewen is pastor of East Ridge Community Fellowship.