I have a friend, a relatively new friend, who I met at church in the last few years. He’s a graduate of LSU and Dallas Theological Seminary, and was a pastor for 27 years. He now writes full-time, collaborating with bestselling—and first-time—authors to create innovative resources for spiritual growth.
He is Len Woods. He and his wife Cindi live in Ruston, LA. And I’m honored to share his newest book with you here today.
If you want to call this the “Information Age,” be my guest. I’m going with the more accurate “Information Tsunami.”
Every day I feel like I’m drowning in a tidal wave of fresh data, new insights, and up-to-the-minute research. And for the record, I’m not imagining this: IBM says that we’re close to the time when human knowledge will be doubling every eleven to twelve hours!
No wonder my head hurts.
Each passing week, I know less and less about more and more. At the rate I’m going, I’ll soon know nothing about everything.
The one thing I am sure about? That you could fill the Pacific Ocean with all the stuff I don’t know. Like how “the cloud” works. Or why a coffee shop situated on a major interstate stops brewing dark roast coffee at 11 a.m. Or why our 28 year-old freezer has been making a loud clunking noise every ninety minutes for at least the last 10 years.
Silly examples aside, there are plenty of troubling unknowns. The bad news du jour involves disease and disasters. What will we discover when we log on or tune in tomorrow? Something involving terrorists? Computer hackers? An economic meltdown? No “expert” on earth knows for sure.
Meanwhile, amid all that “Breaking News!” from a broken world, we face mysteries closer to home, things like:
- What, if anything, can I do to fix my marriage?
- What’s going on in my child’s heart?
- If I lost this job, how would we get by?
- The dementia that runs in my family—does it also run in me?
* * * *
Here’s what’s interesting: I bet you a cup of dark roast coffee (but only before 11 a.m.) I could go online and, inside of five minutes, find a YouTube video that explains why my freezer is making that “clunking” sound. What I can’t do—even with our exponential increase in knowledge—is know what 2029 holds, or how much my Roth IRA will be worth in 15 years, or how many heartbeats I have left.
This ignorance explains why I’ve become so attached to a short phrase that’s found a few places in the Bible. Israel’s great kings—David and Solomon—used it. So did prophets like Ezekiel and apostles like Peter.
The phrase is “you know.”
It’s found in prayers to God. It’s uttered in conversations with Jesus. Always, the people saying this phrase are facing uncertainty. They’re in over their heads. They’re feeling small, lost, clueless about what to do next. Though it’s only two words, “you know” is a mouthful. It’s a way of humbly saying, “Don’t ask me what’s up, what’s happening, or what’s next. I don’t know any of that. But, Lord, you do. You know. YOU know. You KNOW.”
Listen to the heart behind these two words, and you get the sense the speaker is reckoning with a great truth: The One being addressed possesses all facts, sees every possible outcome, and knows without question the best way to proceed. In one sense, “you know” is a signal of humble resignation. Mostly it’s an expression of relief.
* * * *
The night before his death, Jesus arranged to eat a farewell meal with the twelve apostles. Because he knew all that was just ahead, the Teacher elected to give one last lecture. As discourses go, this one was a doozy, a veritable tidal wave of truth. For the most part, the disciples listened quietly—though judging by the few, odd comments of Thomas, Philip, and the other Judas (not Judas Iscariot), it’s clear none of them were tracking. Can we blame them? After such a strange and stressful week, the followers of Jesus were only sure of one thing: They weren’t sure about much of anything!
I can imagine them in the candlelight staring blankly at a platter of leftover lamb and bitter herbs, occasionally cutting their eyes at one another. John admits they were whispering back and forth, “What does he mean?….What does he mean?….We don’t understand what he is saying.”
Thankfully, someone finally said to Jesus the one statement they all needed to hear in the midst of so much uncertainty—“you know all things.” Jesus let that truth linger, then he told them to take heart. He prayed and the meeting ended. They left the room, and just as he had promised, all hell broke lose.
A week or two later, after the crucifixion and resurrection (those events happening exactly as Jesus knew and said they would) the Lord once again gathered with most of his closest followers. Peter was one of those present… still wallowing in guilt for having failed Jesus in his hour of greatest need. Knowing precisely what the shame-filled apostle most needed, Jesus asked Peter three consecutive times, “Do you love me?”
Jesus did this, by the way, not for his own information (he, of course, already knew the answer). He did it for Peter’s restoration. Each time the humbled disciple insisted, “Lord, you know….Lord, you know….Lord, you know all things.”
What else was there to say?
* * * *
“Lord, you know” has become one of my all-time favorite prayers. It’s my favorite “spiritual hack” when I’m feeling clueless about my life or worried about what might be looming—which is to say “almost all the time.”
My guess is that you are facing at least one situation in which you don’t know what’s needed or what’s coming. You’re unsure about a next step. Or you’re clear on the action you need to take, but fearful about what might happen if you do that thing. Perhaps you’ve got perplexing questions: What’s troubling my child? Will I ever marry? How much longer will I have to endure this trial?
I don’t know much, but I know this: When I whisper, “You know” to the only One who really does know, my jittery heart finds peace.
Adapted from Spiritual Life Hacks by Len Woods (Harvest House Publishers, 2019), now available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Walmart, christianbook.com, and fine booksellers everywhere. Used by permission.
Oh by the way, join us at 3:30 PM Friday on GraceAndTruthRadio.World or on the GraceAndTruthRadio.World app to listen as Len and I address how he Finds Calm in the chaos as a full time author.