Thursday, December 19, 2019

This Is Not Going to Go the Way You Think - Embracing the Mystery of God

"Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than the heavens above - what can you do? They are deeper than the depths below - what can you know?  Their measure is longer than the earth and wider than the sea." - Job 11:7-9

With the final installment of the Star Wars saga coming out this weekend, I was reminded of the quote from Luke Skywalker from the previous movie, The Last Jedi, when he was training the new Jedi, Rey: "This is not going to go the way you think."  It was an accurate prediction of not only Rey's path, but for the movie as a whole, which had some twists and turns the audience wasn't expecting.  Ironically, the movie received a lot of backlash from fans who didn't like how the movie's story line played out.

This same issue is one of the biggest challenges we face as Christians in our walk with God - accepting and putting faith and trust in the mystery of God when we don't (and can't) know the reasons why certain things are happening in our lives or the world around us.  We've been this way from the beginning of time - Adam and Eve were temped to eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, because we incorrectly assumed that by knowing everything and being like God, we would have the certainty and security of a predictable life, on our own terms and apart from God.  But as humans acting on our own, we gained the knowledge of good without the ability to do it, and we gained the knowledge of evil without the ability to avoid it.

I have learned from my own experiences that freedom comes from trusting in God's goodness and plan for our lives in the face of things not working out the way we had hoped.  I will always have questions about why certain things had to play out like they did, like losing my twin son and daughter at 19 weeks of pregnancy when we prayed and believed God for a different outcome.  And I'm sure my life will continue to have unexpected twists and turns that I don't expect or understand.

Accepting and trusting in the mystery of God, when we want control over every aspect of our lives, is one of the foundational challenges of our faith, because it goes against our very human nature.  We see this play out in Jesus' ministry, when his disciples thought Jesus was coming to free the Jews from the Romans and establish a new kingdom in the natural, and he had to rebuke them for trying to take a different path from God's will and purpose for His life (Mark 8:32-33).  Today, we see many fall away from their faith, or don't make the commitment to follow Christ in the first place, because of personal or global events that don't line up with their personal belief in who God is or should be.  They can't accept a mysterious God who will always have a part of the story concealed, for His glory and for our good.

The great lie that Satan convinced humanity to believe was that mystery meant God was holding something back from us, something better that we were missing out on.  That life would be better if we did things our way, or had things turn out the way we think they should.  Those traps sow the seeds of bitterness, anger, fear, and unbelief that pull us away from relationship with God, whose true desire is to partner with us to give us the strength to endure the things we don't understand, and the wisdom to make decisions that are aligned to His will and plan for our lives.

As you go through the rest of life's journey, I encourage you to embrace the mystery of God, to let go of your personal beliefs and perceptions of how your life plan should play out.  God has a better path, an amazing plan that you cannot fully know.  And like a good movie, it's a lot more fun when things don't quite turn out like you expect, and the surprise ending is much better than anything you could have ever imagined!

"A religion without mystery must be a religion without God." - Jeremy Taylor

- Adam Gellert

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