Mystery…

 

SmokeI was reminded today that the age of reasoned faith has passed and we are now living in the age of the Spirit…the age of mystery. And this means that the church needs to be not only ok with talking about the mystery of God, but encouraging to those who are longing to experience the mystery of God.

When I was younger (I know, some of you are thinking “Rebekah, you’re still young!”…but I mean 20 years ago – when I was in my late teens), I used to be scared of thinking of God as a mystery. I was at a time in my life when I needed to KNOW about God. I needed a strong, resolute, knowledge-based faith. And the last thing I wanted was anyone giving me room for doubt or for not-knowing or for not-having-all-the-answers. I was afraid of the mystery. (I love the line from the Caedmon’s Call song “Shifting Sands” that says: The only problem I have with these mysteries, is they’re so mysterious!)

But something has happened over the past 20 years. As I have journeyed forward in faith, and as God has been at work in my life, as I’ve grown up and as I’ve changed… I am no longer afraid of the mystery. The words “I don’t know” have become some of my favourite words. Maybe I’ve figured out that I don’t have it all figured out. Maybe I’ve figured out that it is ok that I don’t have it all figured out. Maybe I’ve realized that God doesn’t need me to have it all figured out. That I don’t have to have it all figured out, to still have faith.

Because God IS mysterious. He does things we don’t expect. His timing isn’t what we think it will be. If we think we’ve got it all figured out, we’re probably about to go into a serious faith crisis. Because sooner or later we will bump up against things that are bigger, tougher, and more confusing than anything we think we have figured out.

God is bigger than you and me, bigger than our plans, bigger than our solutions, bigger than our fears and bigger than our doubts. Bigger than the things we think we know.

Except for this one thing that I am absolutely, unshakably sure of: God loves me, and God loves you. And that one things is so powerful, that all the mystery in the universe cannot overcome it.

Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Ephesians 6:19-20 NIV

Anticipation…

I’ve alluded to the fact that Advent is almost here. Where I live, signs of Christmas are beginning to pop up all over the place. I came out of my house for choir practice this evening and noticed that some of my neighbors have put up their Christmas lights. We have begun practicing Advent anthems at choir. And there are signs on all of the streets surrounding my house warning that the streets will be closed this Saturday for the Santa Claus parade.

I always have a struggle at this time of year. Truth be told, I am sorely tempted this weekend to put up both of my Christmas trees, my nativity set and my lights and decorations on the front porch. I want to rush into it.

I have a problem with wanting to rush things before their time. I have a problem with, a lack of, patience.

But I am trying to take my time this year. I WILL put up my nativity set this weekend, but I will hold off on the trees and lights until the end of the month. Because it isn’t time yet. Advent is a season of anticipation. To anticipate you have to hold off a bit. You have to have patience. You can’t just rush to the good stuff, you’ll miss the anticipation entirely.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT) says:

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.

I am trying to let things be beautiful in their own time. Instead of rushing them along. I love the thought that there is eternity in our hearts, but we still can’t see all of what God is doing. Is t that the truth about humanity? We have some sense of longing for – and even some understanding of – the things of God. But we can never fully understand them.

In the end, God remains a mystery. And for once, that is not causing me concern or anxiety. Instead it seems inordinately beautiful.

In December, in its time, I will begin my second annual Advent Blog. Until then, may we all find rest in the One who is the most beautiful mystery.