“Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”
This morning during my drive to work I stopped in at the Dancing Mule coffeeshop. It’s a shop just like any number of others around the US – privately owned, run by people who decided they didn’t want to have to put up with Starbucks coffee forever and took matters into their own hands. But this coffeeshop is unique in one way – it’s the only coffeeshop in the nation where I can walk in and the barista knows exactly what drink I want without me even opening my mouth to tell him.
It may seem like a small thing, but there is something intrinsically satisfactory to us as humans about being recognized. Add to that the pleasure of having your needs met without even having to express them, and you’ve hit on near-perfection. Obviously this is a very small-scale perfection – coffee is hardly the most important thing in the world – but still, it doesn’t seem like such a small thing to the person who experiences it. And recognition like that leads ultimately to creating loyalty in the customer. It’s far more likely that I’ll go back to a place where I am known and greeted personally than to a new place where the outcome and experience are unknown.
The experience I have in my coffeeshop every morning is a microcosmic version of what happens to us when we approach God. I find it pleasurable to be handed my medium latte with no sugar every morning by a complete stranger who just happens to remember my name. How much more joy should we feel when we realize that the One who made us recognizes us and wants to meet our needs?
There is something heart-wrenchingly beautiful in this experience – that as we take that first step toward God we realize that He already knows us completely. No matter how insignificant we feel before begin to seek Him, when we do, we find our significance in His warm welcome. And as the depth of His love and caring for us overwhelm us, we can see that it demands our loyalty. Why would we ever return to a place of darkness, where we are alone, unloved and unlovely, when we can live forever in the embrace of the One who knows us and fulfills the deepest needs of our soul?
1 O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.