We can’t see mysteries, we can only trust them…
One of the hardest, if not thehardest thing for me to believe is God’s providence in everything that takes place in life. By providence I mean recognizing God’s will in everything that happens to me and in the world in which I live. Believing in a divine protective care that allows all that takes place to work for good in my life and those I care about (Romans 8:28).
Recently the truth of God’s providence has once again been challenged by report after report, for months now, of bad things happening to people Char and I know. It’s as if the storms of life have lined up like hurricanes in the Caribbean, one after another, battering the coastline of the lives of family, friends and colleagues of ours, leaving a path of unexpected and underserved trouble, hardship and sickness in their lives. I ask myself, what’s going on? Where’s God’s care? Is he in control or not? How does his goodness fit into all this hardship and heartache? I get no satisfying answers. I’m left helpless in the hands of a mystery, fighting the good fight, contending for the faith, wrestling against forces that frustrate and infuriate my intelligence and good sense.
Once again it appears to me that I have a God whose favorite method of choice is mystery and I’m sorry Sherlock, it’s not elementary. I have a mysterious King who dies, rises and disappears and simply asks us to trust him. I must get over my insistence on having logical answers, swallow my pride and accept that my relationship to this mystery cannot be and will not be based on my smartsor ability to perform and in no way on my theories or opinions about how God works and uses his power. My grasp or should I say the mystery’s grasp on my life can only be rooted solely in trust. I’m to believe only in the King. Everything else is out of my hands, beyond my understanding and squarely in God’s mysterious hands. My simple act of child-like trust in Jesus puts me and everyone and anyone else who chooses to do so, fully albeit mysteriously in the center of God’s providential care. In this I’m reminded of the words of David in Psalm 132:
1 Lord, my heart is not proud;
my eyes are not haughty.
I don’t concern myself with matters too great
or too awesome for me to grasp.
2 Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself,
like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk.
Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.
3 O Israel, put your hope in the Lord—
now and always.
Faith has become for me the willingness to live without answers and simply trust. God doesn’t want me to reason with him, he wants me to rest in him. So as I learn to trust him I’ve been able to take comfort in mystery like a child who takes comfort in being held by his mother knowing I don’t have to have all the answers because God does. I’m satisfied not in having answers to the mystery but in knowing God, THE mystery, himself through Christ.
So now, in the in the middle of yet another stormy season that’s yielding no satisfactory answers only questions, I again find myself having to accept the mystery of God’s divine providence. But to my never-ending surprise, I again discover this exercise doesn’t leave me frustrated an anxious. Oddly it frees me to trust God and do good. It frees me to be patient in adversity, thankful in prosperity, and hopeful for the future, confident that in my faithful Father’s arms nothing can separate me from his love.