T-Shirt At Wal-Mart

I’m only about five items into my list. Just after the crackers and on the way to the cheese when she comes around the corner.

A forty-something woman in a maroon t-shirt. On the front, three words.

“God knows everything.”

Walk around Wal-Mart and you’ll see plenty of T-shirt commentary. Everything from the most recent local 5K race event to an ancient tattered AC/DC concert shirt to an “I’m With Stupid” with the arrow pointing up instead of sideways. The later the hour, the more bizarre the slogans. This was the first time I’d ever seen “God knows everything” on a T-shirt.

Pushing through the store in search of orange juice and blackberry jam, my mind was stuck on that shirt. God knows everything. Of course He does. If God was a contestant on Jeopardy it would be, “I’ll take “Ask Me Anything” for $1,000, Alex.” God numbers the hairs on our head and can tell you how many hairs old guys like me used to have back in the day. God knows everything. That’s for certain.

Yet my mind isn’t turning on the question of His omniscience. I’m pondering what other people think when they see that T-shirt. If you’re at Wal-Mart checking off your grocery list and look up to see “God knows everything”, how would it strike you?

How did it strike you just now?

I think for many, it’s a fearful thought.

Maybe it’s the Santa Claus view of God that some of us have grown up with. Not in that He gives us everything we want. Rather He’s the God who has a list and He’s checking it twice to see who’s naughty and nice. So you better buckle down and live right because He knows when you’re sleeping and knows when you’re awake so you better be good for goodness sake. Don’t pout and don’t even think of crying because He’s coming to town. And if you’ve been naughty, He’s coming for you.

If our view of God is like this then to us “God knows everything” means we’re a mess just waiting to be discovered. So we live in fear and trepidation, trying not to mess up while knowing that no matter how hard we try the mess is inevitable and it’s just a matter of time before He draws a line through our name.

It’s true God knows everything. Yet His omniscience is, by definition, multi-dimensional. It’s much more than simply knowing all about our junk. Contrary to the guilt we impose on ourselves, the all-knowing God in heaven isn’t rubbing His hands together in eager anticipation of our next mistake so He can grab the hammer and swing for the pane labeled “In case of smite, break glass”. Yes, God knows everything. And yes, He knows about our mess. Yet He does not live to rub our nose in it. He wants to help us clean it up. The Bible says God is slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. In Hebrew, the word is “chesed” and it means “loyal love”. God’s love that will not let us go.

A favorite tactic of our enemy is to have us dwell on a faulty view of God. That includes focusing on one aspect of God at the expense of His other attributes. If we define God and His relationship to us by one narrow quality, we miss the whole of who God is. If we live in fear of God’s omniscience we’ll never realize what a blessing it is to us. I wonder how many people in Wal-Mart saw that lady’s shirt and said, “God knows everything? Great! Then He can help me figure out my career situation.” Or, “If God knows everything then He’d be perfect to talk to about this confusing relationship I’m in.” Or, “I’m glad God knows everything because my kids make me feel like I know nothing.”

Or, if you’re a person like me who’s turning 50 tomorrow, “God knows everything? Then He can help me figure out how to be the best I can be for whatever years I have left on the planet.”

God knows everything. Don’t let it scare you. It’s not like you’re going up against Him on Jeopardy. His omniscience isn’t to be feared. It’s to be revered and appreciated.

Because God promises to share His wisdom with all who ask.

So ask already. You can bet that I am.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to. “

– James 1:5

Todd A. Thompson – April 22, 2013

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