Unbeknownst has tentacles.
Merriam tells us that it's an adjective meaning: happening/occurring or existing without the knowledge of someone specified.
Given that definition, I confess there's a plethora of unbeknownsts in my life.
I suppose that's why I looked long and hard at a passage from the First Book of Kings. In Chapter 17 we find the amazing Elijah as he receives certain instructions from God; instructions that will continue preserving his life through a dreadful drought & famine upon the land.
Most of us know the story from an entirely different angle than the one that's captured my focus, but bear with me ... The story opens with God instructing Elijah:
I have commanded (remember this word
and the fact that it's past tense)
a widow in that place to supply you with food."
a widow was there gathering sticks.
He called to her and asked,
"Would you bring me a little water in a jar
so I may have a drink?"
As she was going to get it, he called,
"And bring me, please, a piece of bread."
(The original fast-food order!)
"As surely as the LORD your God lives," she replied,
"I don't have any bread—
only a handful of flour in a jar and
a little oil in a jug.
I am gathering a few sticks to take home
and make a meal for myself and my son,
that we may eat it—and die."
(Remember, God had "commanded" her
to supply Elijah with food,
apparently unbeknownst to her. Besides which,
even if she had been beknownst,
she didn't have any food to offer anyway.
This lady had lost all hope, hit bottom,
and was actually preparing for death!)
Elijah said to her, "Don't be afraid...
For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says:
'The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil
will not run dry until the day the
LORD gives rain on the land.'
"She went away and did as Elijah had told her
(unbeknownst to the fact that God had already,
and previously commanded her)...
So there was food every day for Elijah
and for the woman and her family. (vs 9-15)
In roughly seven verses we learn something incredible. While I'm no Theologian, I can certainly connect a few dots to my own life. What size and shape might those dots take? Let's consider the unbeknownsts.
- I may be oblivious to the commands of God in my own life.
- God will never lead me where He hasn't already prepared a place for me.
- It's possible I'll do something when I'm most desperate (aka, "hit bottom", or "come to the end of self") that I might otherwise avoid.
- How many times do I have to read or hear from God's own word "do not fear" will it take before I remove fear from my coping arsenal?
- God first works in me before He works through me.
- Sometimes I'll credit self or others with something God alone has orchestrated/ordained.
- I don't know what I don't know.
I plan on working the dot from the other direction, from the beknownst side. I'm thinking that way fear has no hope of gaining a foot-hold, and gratitude can long be at work before His provision is even known - knownst!