Fully Known

Post by J. A. Hart and Chris Hartenstein
“For us to move into eternity, all must be known. That is why the “release of classified articles” exists, so we might be in God’s presence (in intimacy with him). It’s an act of mercy and grace, not shame and condemnation. All will be known, and we shall be naked and unashamed as we once were in the garden. We shall be naked and known, and yet still loved.  -Journal entry from June 28, 2018, by Jared Hartenstein

As humans, we fear full disclosure that leaves us exposed. Imagine you’re on trial, and your entire life plays on a jumbo screen in front of a jury- they see every detail. How do you feel? Maybe you feel fear and utter panic. Or, perhaps, you hold your head down in shame and condemnation. For many of us, the thought of being “exposed” makes us isolate and question how guilty the jury will find us. The unknown answer to that question causes us to hide, and as a result, most of us live our lives in the dark- unknown and out of reach. But we find within ourselves a tension because we also want to be loved- we desire intimacy, but we will never know intimacy until we are seen and known.

In eternity, there will be a moment where God lays bare our stories, revealing the full picture of our lives. Often, we filter this moment through a foggy mindset of fear. We label this event as “Judgment day,” the day when we will be exposed and shamed on a cosmic scale, but that perspective isn’t lifegiving. That leads us to isolation and death. So, how would a shift in our perspective look?

Imagine being around a campfire with those you care about; maybe it’s your parents or siblings. Perhaps it's your best friend, girlfriend, or wife. Take a moment and picture their faces in your mind. What if, around this fire with these people present, you have the chance to be fully seen and known. You tell them your story, everything from the day you were born to the day that you died. And what if, instead of rejection, your loved ones watch and listen with a glimmer of joy and delight in their eyes as you unveil yourself. And when you finish with nothing left to hide, what if your loved ones rejoice over you, and throw the most extravagant feast ever seen, inviting everyone to celebrate who you are? What would that do for you? Wouldn’t a deep desire in your heart find some satisfaction? The problem is, we don’t see it this way; because of our brokenness, we believe the opposite would occur. In our version, we share our story, and by the end, everyone is gone, leaving us alone with the crackling fire and a sullen goodnight.

But despite our brokenness, there is hope- a deeper reality exists. The truth is you missed someone. Even when everyone walks away from the fire, you look through the flame and see, one stays: your heavenly Dad. Because of his innocent Son’s trial and death, he can smile and a glint from the fire shimmers in his eyes. He just looks at you through his mercy, grace, and love, seeing your entire story unfold, from beginning to end, the good and the bad, and he loves you. He knows the true depths of who you are because he created you, and he rejoices and delights in who he created you to be. He chose you before time (Eph. 1:4) and will continue to choose you into eternity. You are fully known and wholly loved right now, even in your brokenness. All you need to do is receive that love and rest in his arms as his beloved son or daughter.

Receiving and resting in his perfect love allows us to be in deep intimacy with him, naked and unashamed. On the edge of eternity, our stories, filled with brokenness, will be laid bare, not for shame, condemnation, or rejection. Instead, we will be known and loved- and not only loved but rejoiced over at the most lavish feast of the age. Lavish mercy and lavish grace; that’s our Father’s true heart.

- When you think about your faults and struggles being exposed, what emotions do you feel? What questions arise?
- How does this shape what you believe about your heavenly Dad’s heart towards you?
- What is in the way of you receiving this invitation to be fully known by your heavenly Dad?
- How do you allow yourself to trust in God’s heart to bring hard things “into the light?”
- Do you believe you are wholly known and fully loved?

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