Known and Loved

The Tony-award winning musical “Dear Evan Hansen” is about an agsty teenager who feels misunderstood and alone in the world. Like everyone, he has a desire to be both fully loved and fully known. And like most of us, he ends up compromising one in order to achieve the other.

This affirms the old quip that you can’t have your cake and eat it too. I think I first heard this dichotomy clearly stated when talking to a friend about a Tim Keller sermon. There’s a lot of truth to it, isn’t there? If you want to be fully loved you probably are going to have to give up on being fully known. If you are to be fully known, there’s a good chance, we tell ourselves, that we won’t be fully loved.

But still we long to be loved and known in the deepest way possible. I won’t give too much away about the play but there’s a powerful scene at the end where Evan’s mom tells him she loves him. He tells her she doesn’t really know him, that no one does. She looks at him and says something to the effect, “I’ve always known you. And I’ve always loved you.”

Like most people in the theater, I kind of lost it about then. That line resonated with what I believe about God’s love. He does know us, better than we even know ourselves. And yet he loves us still.

But since the Garden of Eden, since the great human rebellion we discover ourselves in, we’ve been navigating which we want most: to be known or to be loved. Like Adam and Eve we hide, we cover ourselves with meager attempts to mask our shame, and we hurt in isolation. However, the good news of the Bible is that God loves prodigal children like you and me.

In the gospel we are both fully known and fully loved by God.

Christian, God has always known you. And he always loved you, even before he formed the universe. God knew everything about you, past, present, and future, the moment he forgave your sins when you first confessed faith in Christ. There’s nothing about you outside of his knowledge or beyond his love.

Nothing you do will surprise him. And nothing you do will make him reject you. In Christ, you are known and you are loved. Let that sink in, down deep to the part of you that needs it most. You are accepted. You are loved. This is the steadfast love of God.