Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, and was taken up in glory. I Timothy 3:16
Mysteries are secrets. They’re hidden. Sometimes mysteries are eventually uncovered and explained, but–at least in my experience–most of the time they are not.
God is both. Some things about him have been revealed and explained. This includes things like his love his plan of redemption, his forgiving and patient nature, and his purpose for us as his children.
But other things about God remain hidden. These are the big questions about suffering and evil, wonderings about heaven, eternal life, and judgment.
Thoughts about the mystery of God soon turn into a deep theological discussion. Although that can be fascinating and invigorating, the question still remains of how we live in relationship with God.
So much of Him seems hidden from us, and what we can see of him often feels too big and distant, therefore making him difficult to understand.
It’s in quandaries like this that I’m thankful for Sundays.
Entering into worship of God where I sing his praises, lament, confess sin, receive forgiveness, and hear his truth spoken gives me a little bit of a hook in order to grapple with and celebrate a mysterious God.
When a heart chooses to worship, it recognizes that God’s mystery increases his worth. If I could figure God out all the time, I would then be in a place to determine his value based on my sense of need, intelligence, power, or well-being.
But through mystery, God proves himself larger than me. I come to trust him as my wise, all-knowing, Sovereign God.
The irony of God’s mystery is that the more of him that seems unknowable and hidden, the more I am convinced that he can handle anything. God has under control the results of evil in the world. The pain of suffering he sees as a means of good.
This sense of confidence in him leads to a desire to ascribe all value and worth to him. We want to stand in his presence and see his glory. We long to respond with devotion. We hope he will delight us because, as experience teaches, few things in this world hold elating and sustainable delight. Only God does.
When we worship, we say, “Lord, I give my life to you even though I feel like I understand you so rarely and am blind to your work in the world so often.”
Lately, God has been impressing on my heart that real and lasting value is not in what we say “yes” to, but who we say “yes” to, which is Him. Mystery may surround me where I am right now, but at the same time, I also know enough about God to believe in his love, his patience, his advocacy for my good, and his ability to satisfy my needs and longings.
And that is enough.