I spent all but a few months of my time in the United States Marines serving in a counterintelligence role.

Whenever you work with or for a government you’re going to become very familiar with the concepts of security clearance, classified information and the term “need to know.” The US Government has three basic levels of classified documents – Confidential, Secret and Top Secret. In order to work with classified information, you have to have the proper security clearance. So, for example, if you only hold a Secret clearance, you cannot be given access to Top Secret information. You’ve probably heard rumors about security clearances above Top Secret, but not everything you read about on the internet is true. (Sorry to shock you !)

Within the classified materials space, there are a few special designations that further restrict access in order to protect especially sensitive information. For example, you may have heard the terms “SCI” or “SAP” used. SCI stands for “Sensitive Compartmented Information,” and is an access determination that is granted to specific individuals. So, if some specific information is classified Top Secret – SCI, just holding a Top Secret clearance would not be enough for you to receive access. SAP stands for “Special Access Program” and the government has lots of them. One special access program you may have heard about is “Yankee White,” which is the SAP that grants clearances to people within certain presidential and vice-presidential offices. But truth be told Yankee White is only an internal nickname, it’s just a TS/SCI clearance in a specific SAP.

No matter what clearance you hold, you don’t automatically get access to all of the classified information at that level. The decision about what information you do or do not get access to is determined by your need to know.

And THAT fact brings us to today’s verse:

God is omniscient, He knows all things. He knows the past, the present and the future. Of everyone. Ever. And He knows them all at the same time. Because there is nothing that God doesn’t know. Just thinking about this truth and its ramifications is staggering.

But your future is classified information. God knows, but He’s not telling you. His reason can be answered by the simple phrase “need to know.” You do not have the need to know all that will happen, and so He does not share that information with you.

The Bishop of our diocese in Brazil recently sent out an insightful message with an excellent illustration of the concept “need to know.” He wrote about a person serving in the military who asked his commander for details about some specific mission or other. The officer might reply and say, “That information is need-to-know-based, but you don’t need to know that right now.”

When the apostle Paul was arrested and put in prison in Jerusalem, more than 40 men took an oath not to eat or drink until they killed him. He didn’t know about it, because he didn’t need to know. God reveals to us as much as we need to know, and He reveals it exactly when we need to know it. Later, God arranged for Paul’s nephew to hear about this plot, and he went into the barracks where Paul was being held and told him. Paul was informed because he had the need to know at that point.


If we knew everything about our future, we’d have little need for faith. If you have a favorite movie that you’ve watched several times, you never wonder if the ending will suddenly change. You already know the outcome. If we knew everything God had planned for our future, we’d never need to rely upon Him for wisdom, faith and grace. But God knows how important it is that we grow in faith, and so He allows us to walk through situations that will build up our spiritual strength.

He has promised to work all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes. And so, at just the right time, He reveals the next step of His plan to us. It is neither more nor less than what we need. He reveals to us exactly what we need to know. The challenges and problems that will come into our lives never surprise God. Our choices, our successes, our failures, even our sins are all known to Him.

And He works every aspect of our lives TOGETHER for our good. He builds our faith, He trains our obedience. He builds our ability to trust.

The bible teaches us that the secret things belong to the Lord. There are things that only He knows, and He is not going to share them with you. There are things He does share, and those things belong to you and to your children forever. Those things He has given you to help you follow Him properly and well. Perhaps He doesn’t tell us everything about our future because He knows it may totally scare the starch out of our collar.


As a father, I endeavored to teach my children a broad spectrum of lessons. There were lessons they needed to learn and things they needed to know in order to operate as successful and competent adults. As they learned these things and made the knowledge their own, it impacted the capabilities. Their Mom and I taught them some things at one time and other things at others. One does not need to learn their toilet training and differential calculus at the same time. And trying to teach calculus too early or toilet training too late causes all sorts of problems.

I failed in many ways, but God never does. He knows exactly what we need to know and when we need to know it.

When Deacon Aaron Eime and his wife Michelle first got connected to Christ Church in Jerusalem they weren’t looking for a ministry opportunity. They only wanted a place to recover from a stomach bug that had “nice gardens and clean toilets.” What they found was the oldest protestant church in the Middle East, a place that had been established in Jerusalem for nearly 200 years and was dedicated to reaching out with the love of Jesus to both Jews and Arabs. Aaron and Michelle had one plan, but God had a very different one.

“In 2021 we made the wonderful discovery of a community of Arabs and Jews who believed in Jesus,” Aaron recounted recently. “But they were desperate for volunteers to help them, and we said we’d pray about it. So, we drove up to Galilee and returned three days later fully intending to say ‘No’. But when we sat down beside then Rector, Ray Lockhart, I leaned forward to say ‘No’ and out came ‘Yup’!”

And the rest, as they say, is history. Two decades and three children later, the Eime family still call Jerusalem home. God gave Aaron’s family all the information they needed precisely when they needed it. They had their plans; He directed their path.

So continue to make your plans based upon what you see God doing in your life now. God will lead, guide and direct. And, as you come to the place where you need to know certain things in order to accomplish your mission, trust Him to reveal them.

God will let us know as much as we need to know, when we need to know.

And until that happens, we must trust Him … and keep pressing on to take hold of that for which He has taken hold of us.


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