“Truly, you are a God who hides Himself,
O God of Israel, the Saviour.” – Isaiah 45:15
God will confound you. He will confuse and baffle anyone who gives thought to His ways. Why? Simply because God is a mystery! He is not like anyone or anything we have ever known. As Isaiah points out – “His ways are not our ways”. Children cannot fully fathom their parents. The Creator is greater than the creation by every measure. The finite is unable to completely comprehend the Infinite. Since infinity applies to every aspect of God – He is not simply mysterious, but an Infinite Mystery. It’s not that He is a mystery that can be figured out given enough time and clues. He is beyond us figuring Him out.
If I end these paragraphs here, we would be left with the truth that while God exists, He is unknowable. But there is good news.
God has chosen to make Himself known. God has revealed Himself to us. He is seen in the things He has made, in the Words He speaks, in the actions of His Hand, in the image of His Son and the leading of His Spirit. So, we can know Him intimately, up close and very personal. In fact, that is His invitation to all of us. While the depths of God cannot be mastered by any created being, our knowing Him is real, even if in part. We hold to the promise of His invitation, but we cannot escape the fact: God remains a mystery.
So, there are things God will do that confuse us. There are things He won’t do that will surprise us as well. Just when we think we have gotten to a place of understanding, God will jolt us, and we scratch our heads all over again. This simple fact is a threat to some. They prefer to have God who is readily explained. They want to have answers for every question and rationale for God’s every move. They need to know exactly what will be and quantify God into easily labeled boxes. The organized boxes give them security. But the harsh truth is that any god who can fit into a box is not enough for life or eternity.
What’s the practical consequence of all this? It means that our Christian walk may be confusing at times. It’s not that there is something necessarily wrong with you, but that God is mysterious. God may be too silent for our liking. He may seem inactive at the very times we want Him to do something. When He does act, it may not be what we expect. It usually isn’t! When we want God to rush, He pauses. When we want Him to slow down, He is way ahead of us. Now remember. God is not being contradictory or chaotic. He is being Himself. He is brightness in perfection, but there are shadows in our understanding and perception.
This sense of mystery drives many of us crazy, unless we have learned to walk by faith. God has shown us His essence in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the embodiment of Deity. He is the keyhole through which we both understand and enter the reality beyond.
Since God has revealed Himself to us through Jesus, we place faith in what we do know. We know He loves us. We know He is goodness. We know there is nothing beyond His sight. We know everything is possible for Him. We know He is with us in the very depths of who we are. We know He is redemptive, ready to rescue and receive all who are lost. All of this makes God worthy of our trust. What I know of God is a foundation of faith for what I cannot know. We learn to walk by faith.
Our faith will be pushed to its limits and then some. There will be times when we are overwhelmed with the mystery or paralyzed by confusion. So, may I add one other quality we need? We need patience. Patience is the ability to endure (with hope!) the times and places that make no sense to us. We need patience with our own growth and progress. Patience with circumstances around us. We need to extend patience with God Himself. We wait upon Him, trusting what we know to sustain us through what we cannot fathom. My understanding of patience has been helped by this quote,
“Patience with others is Love,
Patience with self is Hope.
Patience with God is Faith.” – Adel Bestavros
It is the nature of love to draw close and be known. To love God means we long to know Him. To be loved by God means He delights to reveal Himself. This mutual love intersects at Calvary. The cross does not elucidate the full mystery of God. It does pierce our darkness and illuminate us with grace. We will have eternity to explore and delight in the wonder of our Lord.