The False Savior: Information Overload and Inner Peace

In our contemporary digital age, life-changing decisions often lead us down a rabbit hole of endless internet research. This was my exact experience when my husband and I made the monumental decision to buy our dream house. Instead of basking in the joy of this milestone, I was consumed by the anxious pursuit of more information. Would we find a problem overlooked during the inspection? Did we settle when a better house was still out there? Was this neighborhood truly the right fit for our family?

In my attempt to quell my fears, I relentlessly sifted through the inspector’s report, examined photos of our prospective home, and researched the local school system. I was convinced that accumulating enough knowledge would guarantee that we had made the right choice. Like many of us when facing the uncertainties of life, I turned to the idol of information, convinced that the more I knew, the more control I would have over the situation.

This craving for self-sufficient knowledge has plagued humanity since our earliest beginnings. Remember the story of Eve in the Garden of Eden? She succumbed to the serpent’s deceit, lured by the promise of becoming like God through knowledge. Unfortunately, like Eve, I find myself entrapped by the lie that information equals independence from God, and thus, I fill my life with books, podcasts, and online influencers in a futile attempt to ameliorate my anxieties.

Of course, the quest for knowledge isn’t inherently wrong. The Bible encourages us to expand our understanding, particularly when it comes to God and His Word (2 Pet. 3:18). It’s when we begin to believe that increased knowledge equates to self-sufficiency that it becomes an idol.

Let’s remember one essential truth: God alone is omniscient. This attribute is exclusive to Him. Even though we are created in His image, and called to emulate His love, kindness, and grace, we will never attain His all-knowing nature. It’s a lesson I’ve learned the hard way, wrestling with numerous life challenges, from coping with a novel virus, and adopting a third child, to navigating marital hardships. However, in every situation, I found a deep comfort not in my own understanding, but in acknowledging the limitless knowledge of God.

For example, as I lay anxious during a medical examination, scrutinizing the ultrasound technician’s face for any hint of what was happening inside my body, I found peace in a psalm from that morning’s study: “O LORD, you have searched me and known me!” (Ps. 139:1). I was reassured knowing that even when I didn’t understand, God, with His boundless knowledge, did.

The Apostle Paul addressed the believers in Philippi, a community grappling with the unknowns of suffering. He advised them to bring their anxieties before God, and in doing so, they would experience a peace beyond comprehension (Phil. 4:7). This peace, unlike the fleeting solace we find in an online search or a podcast, truly safeguards our hearts and minds from anxiety.

God calls us not to worship knowledge, nor to ignore it, but rather to be good stewards of it (Prov. 18:15). When we rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us, even a book or an internet search can serve as a tool for discernment. Medical diagnoses, despite their daunting implications, can remind us of the grace given through healthcare professionals. And when we consume news to prepare for an uncertain future, we can rest in the certainty of God’s foreknowledge.

So, let’s close the tabs, put down the book, and switch off the scrolling. Our ultimate comfort doesn’t come from the data we gather, but from the all-knowing God who lovingly holds us in His hands.