Monday, January 14, 2008

I Love a Good Mystery...

... Agatha Christie novels, especially. I've even got a fairly thorough collection going, focusing on finding hardback editions at used book stores. It's not worth much - no 1st editions and some are missing their dust jackets - but it's quite valuable to me, because I derive such joy from reading them. And every now and then (OK, rarely) I actually figure out "who done it."

I guess that's why I enjoyed and found this devotional by Michael Card in my email this morning particularly thought-provoking:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. - Is. 55:8

I used to think that mysteries existed only to be solved. When I heard someone refer to the mystery of Christ, I assumed that Christ was a mystery only to nonbelievers. I have since learned that the mystery of Christ is reserved for those who do believe. To "know" the mystery of Christ is to realize that it is indeed just that, a mystery.

To represent faith in Jesus merely as something we come to understand and accept is to rob it of the mystery of being in relationship with something infinitely bigger and wiser than we are. His ways are not our ways, the prophet Isaiah tells us.

Mystery is not a category only for the spiritually elite; secret knowledge reserved for the members of the deeper life club. The mysteries of faith in Christ are for everyone who claims to be in relationship with him. The basic truths of Christianity are mysteries, not understandable, not "our ways": the virgin birth of Jesus, the Trinity, grace, prayer, the union of the believer with Christ, the cross, and perhaps most mysterious, and key to them all, the incarnation.

What's funny about the timing of this devotional is that just yesterday, a child whom I'm discipling asked me to explain how Jesus and God can be the same person. I gave her my best answer, but ended by saying it's OK not to understand him completely; it's OK for God to be a mystery. Like Michael Card, I think most of us (young and old) want to have God explained and comprehended. But I have to ask myself, "Would a God small enough to understand really be big enough to worship?" I don't think so. So, I'll learn to be content with celebrating the mystery of Who he is as he continues to reveal those answers throughout eternity, and depend on Agatha Christie when I need an "answer-fix"!

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