Posted by: calloftheandes | May 24, 2016

What Does God Know?

Photo shows Ecuadorian city Bahia de Caraquez, from San Vicente.

Photo shows Ecuadorian city Bahia de Caraquez, from San Vicente.

by Ralph Kurtenbach

What does God know? At a gas station in San Vicente, we wait for Steve. He has run to a pharmacy to find iron supplements to make available to patients in rural Manabí Province.sanvicente2

A small pickup pulls around the gas pumps, its truck box’s hand-lettered message proclaiming in Spanish, “Only God knows if I’ll return.” I smile at this and assume the driver’s attention to vehicle upkeep, speed limits or even safe driving habits may be spare.

In the end though, the little truck has it right—only God knows. Sure, we do something to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. But truly our lives are in His hands.bahiadecaraquez2

Across the bay a day earlier, we had toured through some hard-hit areas of Bahia de Caraquez. Some who survived the 7.8 strength earthquake on April 16 in Ecuador told their stories, including some who had brought out people from under the wreckage of a building.

The car stops and I get out to look and photograph.  I look up at tall buildings, pristine white, attractive from across the bay in San Vicente. Up close, these same condominiums and apartments  do not look safe. (But as someone told us, what fell off during the quake was plaster or stucco; the structural components weren’t compromised.) bahiadecaraquez4I look down, and at my feet is a dead bird, and the building and the bird serve to reinforce in me a biblical truth. Jesus once said, Are not two sparrows sold for a [a]cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.(Matthew 10:29 )

The idea seized me that amid the destruction of a devastating earthquake, God cares—even to seemingly insignificant matters of a bird’s death. Was Jesus exaggerating? I don’t think so. When the world was created He gave Adam the task of naming the animals and when He later destroyed His own creation, He led Noah to save the species.

bahiadecaraquezadjustedA ways farther on, a slick, professional-looking sign fairly begs to be photographed before the tall buildings whose white facades have chipped and broken away. “Are you looking for a secure investment?” The sign asks. Boldly it then declares, “Look no further,” with an arrow pointing to the tall buildings. A children’s song about building a house upon a foundation of sand plays out in my mind.

A wise man, continues the song, builds upon the Rock.

ralph1The daily habits of trusting God—these are what will get us through in times when even the ground beneath us offers no stable support.  God knows our going out and coming in, and He knows the details of our lives even to the number of hairs on our head. He can be trusted, and we are to teach this to our children as we walk along the way.

Ralph Kurtenbach is a missionary with Reach Beyond.


  1. […] by Christian psychologist, Dr. Carlos Pinto, of Reach Beyond. This interview with Dr. Pinto by Ralph Kurtenbach was transcribed, translated and then edited and condensed for […]

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