Living in the mystery
More and more I’m learning to be content in the mystery. You know, those places where we have questions, but no answers. Those places, that despite our best efforts, we just can’t package up into a neat box.
Recently we’ve been thinking about those “How long, O Lord?” times. And it’s often in those times that we have these questions.
God, why aren’t you answering my prayers just the way I’m asking?
God, in fact, I don’t really see you answering at all?
How long, God, must I have to endure these circumstances?
I think we would love it if God gave us answers to these questions. It would make navigating those times so much easier.
But as I learn to live in the mystery, there are at least three things that help.
One: Romans 8:32
He who did not spare his own Son, but graciously gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things.
Paul’s words in Romans remind us that God is for us. He is so much for us. Oh, so much for us. That he has lavished on us all lavishness, in and through Jesus. We can be sure that if God has already not held back the ultimate gift, then why would he skimp on anything else. The cross tells me that God is for me. I don’t need to know all the answers, I just need to know that God is for me.
Two: Matthew 6:11
Give us today our daily bread.
Jesus is teaching his disciples (and us) how to pray. And in that context he says, when you pray, ask your Heavenly Father for what you need. Now, the only reason Jesus would tell us to ask our Heavenly Father for what we need, is if he knows that our Heavenly Father is indeed a good Heavenly Father who can and does give us what we need. Why else would he tell us to pray that way?
Jesus tells me that God is for me. I don’t need to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel if I know that God will give me what I need each step of the way.
Three: Isaiah 55:8-9
My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts, declares the Lord.
Simply, God is bigger than us. We cannot box God up. We don’t see things the way God does. Surely, that’s the definition of who God is….the One who is before time and outside of time...the One who is beyond us.
Sometimes the best thing we can do is to entrust ourselves to the One who knows. Asking questions to which there are no answers, as much as we would like there to be answers, is a futile exercise. Sometimes, we just need to surrender. Let go of our desire to know. We need to rest in His care.
Living in the mystery is really about living by faith. Trusting God. Placing our weight upon Him. Contenting ourselves that He knows, that He cares, that He will provide. I might now know the when, the how, the where...but I don’t need to. It’s enough that He does.