Signs of the Kingdom: Searched and Known
Finally, after lo these many months, I can scratch general secretary search committee from my prayer list. The search is over, and the Reformed Church in America has a new general secretary, Eddy Alemán.
Ever serve on a search committee at church? It’s hard work and time consuming. Poring over profiles, listening to sermons, running down references, trying to determine how you’ll know the right person when she or he walks into the room. Search committees have to go beyond surface credentials and probe deep into the candidate’s life. And at some point in the process, the thought tiptoes into your head: Is it even possible to really know someone, deeply and truly? I’m not sure I even know myself. There are things about me that even my wife does not know. I hope.
The psalmist says of God, “O Lord, you have searched me and known me” (Psalm 139:1). Now there is an unnerving thought—to be known completely, both the good and the bad. I prefer to remember only the good.
When I used to play tennis with my sister, whom I routinely beat, she would ask, “Shall we keep score?” I’d reply, “Of course we’ll keep score. What’s the point of playing the game if you don’t keep score?” But when I would play tennis with my neighbor, whose serve I could barely see, much less return, and he asked whether we should keep score, I’d say, “Oh, excuse me, Bjorn Borg, I thought we came out here for fun, fellowship, and fresh air. But nooo, that’s not good enough for you; you need to keep score.” Worked every time.
I tend to remember my life that way. That is, I keep score when I win—the times I am high-minded and virtuous—and I delete all the sordid, sinful chapters. But God sees it all, good and bad, sunshine and shadow. God knows the truth about me—not the self-serving story I try so hard to project to others, and even to myself, but the real story, the whole, unvarnished truth. An unnerving thought.
And yet, somehow, comforting. Whatever other people may think, however they misread you or misunderstand your motives, there is one who sees the true you, and yet loves you with a pure, perfect love. You are completely searched, and yet completely loved.
And completely known. How long will anyone remember your life? A few years? A generation or two? And then what—oblivion? Your whole existence forgotten? No. God knows you. God knows the whole of your life and always will. My favorite tombstone inscription is etched in a seventeenth-century English marker: Ye think I’m forgot, but I’m not.
God does not forget you and me. And we should not forget Eddy Alemán. Though the search may be over, the work is not. Put him on your prayer list.
“Signs of the Kingdom” is written by and reflects the opinions of Louis Lotz, a retired RCA pastor who lives in Hudsonville, Michigan.