“Even in your own Law it is written that the testimony of two men is valid. I am One who testifies about Myself, and the Father, who sent Me, also testifies about me.”
“Where is Your Father?” they asked Him.
“You do not know Me or My Father,” Jesus answered. “If you knew Me, you would know My Father as well.” (John 8:16-19)
A couple of weeks ago, I had one of the most trying weeks I’ve had in awhile. It really drained me. As I went through tough situations, my negative self talk got louder and louder. I found it more and more difficult to give to others as I usually do. I struggled to have faith.
It’s crazy, but one thing that made it more challenging was that we were living in a bare-bones extended-stay motel. I think of how Jesus said he had no place to rest his head. I had a place to rest my head, but because it wasn’t my comfortable home, with my regular routines, I really had trouble getting grounded or motivated. That’s convicting.
But let’s look at today’s red letter passage. We come in on the middle of a conversation Jesus was having with the Pharisees, who had just expressed their reservations about believing in him,”You are testifying about Yourself; Your testimony is not valid.” It was like they were saying, “If you have someone legit who can back up your claims, then we might believe what you’re saying.”
And we want to look down on these Pharisees, because they were so stubborn about believing. But let’s look at our own lives. How much does it seem like it’s just impossible to have faith in certain circumstances? That’s what the Pharisees were saying. That’s what I was feeling when I was out of town. How much do we feel like we just need more, somehow, so we can believe?
Jesus’s answer to the Pharisees was, “I AM ENOUGH.” He and God orivuded all the testimony they needed. They didn’t need more. What they needed was to KNOW him, to KNOW God.
The same is true for us. When we have trouble believing, the answer is in knowing Jesus and God better.
How can we know God better? I discussed this with our women’s small group, and we came up with several things we can know about God from reading scripture — that he’s good, faithful, always with us, and loves us unconditionally. We can also know that nothing’s too big or too hard for him, and that he’s looking out for our best interests.
And this is great!! Reflecting on these things can really build our faith. But the knowing Jesus was referring to here was probably more than having intellectual knowledge of God. The Hebrew word for knowing, “yada,” means knowing through experiencing. It’s the difference between hearing about someone, and actually engaging with them over time in a relationship. For instance, I could say I know President Trump, because I’ve read so much about him. But if I actually lived with him over a period of time and interacted with him, I would know him on a whole different level.
So, we want to know God on this whole new level. We want to experience him, engage with him, and interact with him.
And to make this practical, I’ve come up with 9 ways we “yada” God. Apply the following to yourself.
I know God from:
- The times he’s spoken to my heart.
- The times he’s answered my prayers.
- The times he’s worked in my life.
- The times I’ve experienced his presence.
- The times I’ve connected with him in song.
- The times I’ve obeyed him, and seen his word is true.
- The blessings he’s given me.
- The ways he’s spoken to me through scriptures.
Isn’t this wonderful! My challenge to you is to go through this list, and write down instances in each category when you’ve experienced God in that way.
And then, make it your goal to continue experiencing God in these ways, and others as well. It will give you such a greater assurance that he answers your prayers, and is with you, taking care of you and working.
God is testifying to us, with abundant testimony that we receive over and over. This is ENOUGH! When we go through trials, we don’t need more to have faith. We need to tap into our experiences. We need to connect with the Lord, and interact with him.
During my recent difficult week, what finally helped was remembering the verse, “In the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” (Ps. 5:3) Each day, I gave God small, timely requests, like “Show us what we should do next in this situation,” and then I watched for how God answered. I found that I had a lot of hope when I did this. It was something I knew God could and would do. And as I saw God answer my requests, I believed he would respond to the next one.
I was gaining faith through experience. It made all the difference in getting through tough circumstances.
Let’s hold to God’s hand. Let’s ask Jesus each day to show us how to follow him, and then walk with him. And then, maybe, it will be easier to get by when we are away from our usual comfort and routines. Because THEY have become our comfort and our home.