Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

1 Corinthians 13:12

 

Sparks and trails of light capture in a photo of a dark night.Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, and Encyclopedia Brown were my constant childhood companions. If I read the first sentence of a Nancy Drew mystery, I could not stop until the last page had been turned. I was intrigued, inspired, and intent on finding out who did it before the truth was revealed on the page.

Similarly, when introduced to the game, Clue, I could not believe my good fortune! Not only was it a mystery, but it was one in which I got to compete for the prize of solving the mystery before anyone else. Was it the butler in the dining room with the candlestick? I made it my mission to be the first to know. For me, solving a mystery as a competition was deeply satisfying. I liked following clues to solve a case, and (like most adolescents) I enjoyed being first.

Somewhere along the way, however, I encountered the God of creation who, when asked by Moses, “Who should I say is sending me?” answered him by saying, “I Am that I Am.”

Foolishly, I set out to solve the mystery of God. Tracing the clues as I perceived them, I tried to find the right-sized box in which God would fit. I wanted to figure out this mysterious God who seems in one moment to be elusive and ethereal, yet, in the next moment, appears to be closer to me than my very own heartbeat. For years I held on to the idea that God could be fully understood if I just kept trying. Imagine my surprise when I realized my Nancy Drew strategies did not translate and I cannot crack the code of this God who refuses to be pinned down, stuffed in a box, or fully figured out and understood.

God is mysterious. That sentence is difficult for me to write. Writing that sentence is an act of surrender. It is an admission that I have to let some things be and trust God anyway. I cannot know the answers to all my questions about why God allows some things, yet seems to intervene in others. Apparently, I don’t need to know all the answers if my faith is meant to mean anything at all. The mystery, it would seem, is the habitat in which faith thrives and grows strong.

Right now, when it comes to God, I only know him in part. For this mystery-solving, competition-thriving, red-blooded American woman, I have to trust that to be sufficient, and let the mystery grow me deeper, stronger, and more sure of what I cannot know.

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

What things about God do you wish you could figure out? Why do you think we only see in part right now? What would be different if you knew everything about God?

PRAYER:

I am often uncomfortable with mysteries, God. I want to know what makes you tick. I want to be able to predict your next move. But you are beyond my comprehension. Let that be enough for me, for now. Amen.

 

Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentaryKnowing God Completely
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2 Responses to Surrendering to Mystery

  1. Wade Williams says:

    Happy Sunday, O enjoy the commentary on the word of God by Dedra Riggs and her observation that we can’t know everything about God until we live with Him eternally in heaven.

  2. Joe Arnett says:

    Thank you for your column Dedra. It’s very thought provoking. I share a lot of your feelings. May God continue to bless your work.