It is a true paradox. Today, I’ve been married longer than I have ever been. I’ve been a father longer than I have ever been. The same is true for me as a Christian, a preacher, and every other relationship I am in. My experience in all of these has never been greater than it is right now. Yet, as I examine things, I realize just how much I do not know. I am not saying that truth is unknowable, for such a statement would be false and contradictory to what God affirms in Scripture (John 8:32; Eph. 1:18; 1 Tim. 3:15; etc.). It is just that I realize how little I understand compared to what needs to be understood, that I find the challenge of putting truth into practice in every situation requiring wisdom and understanding as daunting as I ever have. Yet, despite such a realization, my optimism has never been greater. Why? Because I have never believed more strongly in the power and wisdom of God, nor have I ever depended more on Him for strength and provision where I am lacking than I do today. I feel smaller, but He seems bigger. While the walk on the narrow way seems a steeper, more strenuous, incline each day and the challenges to faith more daunting, more than proportionate to this is my realization that God “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Eph. 3:20). My conviction about what the Bible says has never been stronger. My belief in God’s existence, involvement, concern, and righteousness has never been more than this moment. Yet, my awareness of my finiteness and limitations, the transiency of this life, and the ferocity of the adversary is acute. Incredibly, this doesn’t cause me to despair. It causes me to hope. It takes the focus off me and puts it where it belongs—on Him! He is able to establish me through His Word (Rom. 16:25). He is “able to make all grace abound to” me, that I, “having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work” (2 Cor. 9:8). The most important thing for me to know, every day in every challenge and responsibility, is that God is able (Rom. 14:4; Phil. 3:21; 2 Tim. 1:12; Heb. 2:18).
Don’t misunderstand me. I am not despairing. I am not even frustrated. I am hopeful and excited. One of the greatest promises of Scripture is, “But He gives more grace” (Jas. 4:6). He will walk with me through the darkest valleys (Psa. 23:4). As He holds my hand and guides me through His word and His providence, He also points me toward His house. He tells me He will help me get home and when the narrow way becomes too steep or arduous for me to walk alone, He will carry me in His everlasting arms (cf. Deu. 32:7). I will keep studying His inspired guidebook and striving to apply it to my life. And as I do, I will increase my dependence and reliance upon Him, confident that “He who has begun a good work in [me] will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6). That’s really all I need to know!