Friday, June 23, 2017

The Mystery of God

The real tension that we feel between Christian faith and modern gnosticism is our full recognition that so much of God is still a mystery to us. We rather like the idea that if there's something about God that we don't know, then we have without our capacity to figure it out. All we have to do is think hard enough, dig deep enough, and put enough of the pieces together.

But the mystery of God is not the beginning point of our journey of faith; it's the end of it. 

Our faith begins not with questions, but with answers, with the God who boldly proclaims who He is and makes no secret about His character as loving, good, gracious, and worthy of our love, affection, and adoration. Our faith begins with what we do know, not with what we can't know, which is that God has given us more than enough information to sufficiently know Him through His Word and His ongoing revelation of Himself. 

The more we live and love in the knowledge of what we do know, the more we come to the edge of the mystery that is God - that which we simply cannot know. We cannot know it because our fallen eyes cannot look high enough. Because our calloused hands cannot open wide enough. Because our wounded hearts cannot beat strong enough. The mystery of God is beyond our broken existence to such an extreme that we can only ever imagine and know that even our imaginations are not wild enough. 

And the faith that's fallen in love with the knowable God finds itself content to embrace the mystery of Him where it knows it can go no deeper until all of these chains are broken.

That would be rather frustrating if it were anything but God that we were talking about. It would be like having an amazing recipe for a fantastic dish, but the last instruction was left off. It would be like reading a book only to find the last chapter missing. It would be like having enough paint in the can to cover only 95% of the wall, leaving just that last little corner staring back at us. In anything else, it feels unfinished.

But not so with the mystery of God. The mystery of God is the fullness of God, it is the whole of His story. Even though we don't know what that fullness holds, we sense full well that it's there. Rather than coming to the end of the book and finding the last chapter missing, we come to the mystery of God and find ourselves waiting on the next page to turn. It's there. It's right there. We just can't read it...yet.

Sadly, too many of us spend our entire lives of faith waiting on that page to turn, waiting on God to more fully reveal Himself, waiting on Him to show us what we cannot possibly understand. We spend our entire lives digging through, trying to uncover what God has never hidden, and it's what leads us to these gnostic ideas, these silly notions we have that there's more to God's Word than He says there is. There's not.

There's only mystery.

And we have to be okay with that. Because the mystery of God is not His unfinished story, but His fullest glory. And the kind of faith that I want to have is ready to embrace that, even if I can't understand it. 

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