When someone talks about God knowing or seeing everything we do, say, or think the oft intended goal is to scare us out of wrong behavior. “God hear’s what you say, so don’t lie,” or “God sees what goes on behind closed doors, so stop sinning!” It is true that God sees all things, knows all things. But God’s unending sight and knowledge do not necessarily bring fear or dismay–especially for a child of God.
It can be a great comfort to know that God sees and knows what is happening in your life this very moment. That was the case for the nation of Israel as they languished through 400 years of slavery in Egypt. The book of Exodus opens with the birth of Moses, who soon after kills an Egyptian and runs for his life. In Exodus 2 Moses ends up in the land of Midian where he marries a shepherdess named Zipporah. Then in chapter 3 we read the famous burning bush story, an event so amazing that it often overshadows the last verse of chapter 2. “God saw the people of Israel–and God knew” (Exo. 2:25). That verse is a turning point in the history of Israel and the life of Moses. For years the Israelites had cried out to God and heard no answer. Generation after generation prayed the same prayer and heard the same silent response. But then we read a breathtaking word from God. God saw their suffering, he knew what was going on. He was not oblivious to the years of servitude and suffering. And the fact that God knew gave great hope.
Often we get the idea that God does not see what is happening in our life. We fear that our suffering goes unnoticed, that there is no hope for God’s aid, or that somehow our life will not count or matter at all in eternity. When we think this way we become complainers or boasters. When someone asks how we are doing we relish the opportunity to share our hurts or victories; not so much because we want to hear the sound of our own voice, but because if we speak our life it will not go without pity or praise.
But that’s not the truth at all. Nothing goes unnoticed by the eyes and mind of God–whether good or bad. If you suffer for righteousness sake on a deserted island you do not go unnoticed. If you are a child of God you are known. God sees and knows every prayer, every drop of suffering, every frustration, and every moment of faithfulness. There is no need worry that we pass unknown in life. To be sure, many of us will pass unknown to most of the world, but we are known by the God who made and sustains this world. And that is more than enough. I do not the need the world to know who I am or see my struggles and victories if our great God sees and knows. God’s seeing and knowing is of a greater comfort and assurance that all things will be made right than if all the eyes and minds of the world were in a moment turned to your life.