May grace and peace be multiplied to you by the knowledge of God and our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:2
Can you know things beyond what you can comprehend with your conscious intellect? Malcolm Gladwell, in his book, Blink, cites a gambling experiment at the University of Iowa where you are given four decks of cards – two red and two blue. Your task is to turn over cards in any deck you choose to maximize your winnings. What you don’t know is that the red cards are rigged so that you can win a lot at times, but can never win in the end.
After about 80 cards, most players can understand intellectually why the red decks are a bad choice. But, after 50 cards, most people develop a hunch and start choosing the proper deck, but have no idea why.
But it gets even more intriguing. The players were hooked up to machines that measured sweat glands in the palms as well as temperature. Stress and nervousness can be measured this way. After only 10 cards were played, the Iowa scientists could detect stress when players chose a red card – 40 cards before they had a “hunch” and 70 cards before they intellectually figured out the game.
Peter is telling us that the source of the grace and peace we receive is found in the knowledge of God and our Lord Jesus Christ. But what does it mean to know God? Is it just an intellectual comprehension of facts about God? I don’t think so.
A newborn baby immediately cuddles with its mother. That little infant finds comfort from its mother long before it is old enough to intellectually grasp the concept, “You are my mommy.” Just as in the experiment with the four decks of cards, there is a kind of knowing that extends beyond our conscious, intellectual recognition.
When we know someone, we know them in a deeper way than what documented facts can provide. Let me give you an example.
The FBI caught a ring of forgers in San Diego. They were selling thousands of fake autographs and fraudulent historical documents. How did the FBI discover this ring of counterfeiters? Among other things, the curiosity of the federal officials was no doubt aroused when they attempted to sell baseballs autographed by . . . Mother Theresa!
Before the feds could document whether Mother Theresa was hawking autographed baseballs, we have an intuitive hunch that Mother Theresa is not like that. We feel that we know her enough to doubt she would autograph baseballs before we can prove it intellectually.
As we grow in our faith, we are not just learning facts about God; we are coming to know him. What you will find at the end is a shower of grace and peace.
(text copyright 2012 by Marty Kaarre)