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Fully Known

by KATY BRINK COMMUNITY Feeling known & understood Finding community God's Image
Fully Known
“Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
1 Corinthians 13:12b

Feeling known can be one of the most obviously-missing realities of cross-cultural living. Or at least one of the slowest to arrive. It’s hard to define or quantify, but we know it when we have it. And when we don’t.

When we moved to our current country of service, we didn’t know anyone. In our previous country, we worked on a team that functioned as built-in community, even from the beginning when we had no community with nationals. But this time we were the first from our organization in our city, and that meant starting from scratch. Perhaps many of you have faced or are facing this same situation. You step off the plane and wonder if you’ll ever make one friend, much less several. Will people ever really know me here?

The desire for community is a natural one; after all, we were created in the image of a Triune God! Our personalities give us as individuals varying degrees of need for social interaction; however, as image-bearers we’re hardwired for it, and the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed to us the negative effects of living without it! The blessing of a good friend brings much joy to our hearts; by contrast, the lack of deep fellowship can produce profound loneliness.

God established the Church as the community of His people, the place where we as His children worship Him corporately and share our lives with one another. Living in community, even in the context of the Church, can be challenging but also the source of great blessing. When we lack this specific type of community as God’s children, we feel the void.

Despite being created for community and being commanded to live in it in the context of the Church, God never meant for earthly community, earthly friends, to bring us ultimate fulfillment. No one in this life can love us perfectly, know us fully, or satisfy us completely. God created us for Himself, and in relationships here on earth we have a foretaste of the perfect communion and community that wait for us in heaven. 1 Corinthians reminds us that we “are fully known” by our Father – what a comfort that truth is to our hearts!

Closing Prayer
Heavenly Father, thank you for fully knowing us and loving us as we are. Help us to love others well and to point them to you, the source of true joy. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Article: Be Heavenly Minded so That You’re of Earthly Good by T.D. Alexander While not directly about community, this article reminds us of heavenly realities in order to help us be more effective servants in the here and now.
Question for Reflection

When do you particularly struggle with loneliness? Are you sometimes tempted to pursue earthly fellowship as something that could ultimately satisfy?

Katy Brink
November 21, 2022

When I’m feeling especially aware of the differences between me and the people I’m around, or when I feel like I’m not being understood, I begin to feel loneliness creeping in. And then I can start to imagine that if I just had a community that resembled x, y, or z, I’d be truly happy, forgetting of course that my deep desires to be known can only be fully satisfied in Jesus.