From the very beginning, humans have always seemed to have this perceived need to know what is to come (what to expect) and to understand why. Think about it. Most of us, if we’re honest, would say that when the future looks uncertain or our plans aren’t panning out, we lack peace. Anxiety enters our minds and begins affecting every aspect of our lives. I’m pretty sure this isn’t just me—I think most people deal with this when faced with the unknown. The prospect of instability convinces our minds that we’re in danger and that, maybe, we won’t ever find that place of happiness and rest that we long for.
I realized just the other night that this goes way back. To the Garden, actually, with the first man and woman. See, before the Serpent (our enemy) entered the picture, Adam and Eve walked with God in perfect union, peace, joy, provision, and safety. They never worried about the prospect of lacking something essential. They were never anxious about the future and their role in the Earth. Heck, they didn’t even fear death, because death was not even a concept in their brains. All they knew was life. All they knew was the goodness and the nearness of God, and that his desire was to love them, lead them, provide for them, and walk beside them. Perfect peace, nothing less.
This was God’s original intention for man.
It’s what he still wants for us today.
The moment Adam allowed his mind to be convinced that life would somehow be better if he had more control (aka, if he knew more) was the moment man first embraced a lie as truth. For most of us, life is a long battle of learning to combat lies that threaten to sabotage our identities, our destinies, and our relationship with our Father. When Adam and Eve believed that first lie, peace abandoned their hearts and ushered man into this ageless struggle we still face today. Sure, having eaten from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they now understood death, pain, and a multitude of other things. But with this knowledge that they falsely believed would free them, they actually bound themselves to a life of unrest, darkness, and anxiety, and opened themselves up to danger in their distrust of God’s heart. In an ironic turn of events, the peace they sought from the prospect of being in control vanished once they bit the fruit that promised it.
I’ve been thinking about and facing the unknown a lot lately. I’m about to go into a season where almost everything is unknown to me. I know where I’m going, but I don’t know where it will lead or what all I’ll be doing. At times, my decision to step out into new territory feels dangerous. Having no guarantees makes me question if I’m doing the right thing. But I was reminded the other night of the scripture that talks about God’s peace surpassing our understanding. And it hit me.
The unknown is the safest place I could be.
As the person who shared this scripture pointed out, according to this passage we basically either have the choice to get understanding or to get peace. If peace surpasses understanding, then obviously we don’t need to understand everything. Therefore, to experience peace we must forgo understanding. See, this need that we feel to know everything, to be in control of our circumstances or our future actually hinders God’s best for us. If we insist to know, to understand everything in the beginning, we won’t be open to the unexpected and most likely incredible opportunities that God has in his heart to lead us into. Not only that, but the peace we seek will continue to elude us. Man’s decision to eat from the tree of knowledge is what triggered the curse, which opened man up to all sorts of evil and danger.
The safest place is to not know. The safest decision is to remain in the place where all our knowledge is wrapped up in the goodness and nearness of God. The stormy waters are safer than the shore if God is there, too.
So the choice is ours, as it has always been: will we pursue knowledge, or life?