He made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ… Ephesians 1:9
Human beings always want to know “why?” and “why not now?” But it’s precisely because we are human we cannot know. That’s why mystery is so important to understand. The entire book of Job is all about the “why” of suffering and in the end God invites Job to see a bigger picture than even his suffering.
Creation is a mistake if all you see is your suffering. But if you lift your eyes wider and let your gaze roam over the whole universe with God, you can also see that creation has even more beauty and grace.
So we are to value mystery because it enables us to feel God’s love…love that was fully revealed in Christ.
Sometimes we get to see “why?” and “why not now?” (one of the good aspects of growing older). Often we don’t because we are the players of life in the universe, not the playwright.
Christine Mallouhi in her excellent book, Waging Peace on Islam, makes this significant conclusion:
The victorious and triumphant Christian life does not conjure up pictures of suffering and death and feelings of abandonment. But this was all part of God's victory in Christ. If this was the path the Master trod why should it be any different for the servants? Jesus cried out "why?" and "where are you?" to God when circumstances were crushing him. God is always greater than our understanding of him and there will always be mystery about him that causes us to fall down in awe and worship. This mystery, which we want to tidily categorise, keeps causing struggles in our life. Every time we get God tidied up like a ball of rubber bands, another end bursts out and the struggle begins over again, until we learn to live in faith with untidy ends. If everything is clear then faith is irrelevant. We are not called to solve the mystery, but enter it.
RESPONSE: Today I will value mystery because it enables me to feel God’s love.
PRAYER: Thank You Lord that though the world around us if full of suffering, it is more full of beauty and grace. Help me to trust You and value mystery.
1. Christine Mallouhi, Waging Peace on Islam (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2000), p.52.