Embracing the God of Mystery

Advent Reading

Luke 1 – “So the angel told her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever. His kingdom will never end!”

“How can this be,” Mary asked…

I’ve been reflecting a lot on holding hope in the middle of these trying times and how the “thrill of hope” can be confusing or even offensive to someone at first. The angel delivers shocking news to Mary, and in the same way I imagine every one of us would respond, she says, “how?” 

How can this miracle happen? 

Then, right before our eyes, as this story unfolds, we see Mary experience doubt, embrace the uncharted, and respond in faith. 

While I was reflecting on how hope is often born out of the places where I am asking God “HOW???” or letting go of my rigidity and certainty to embrace the dance of hope and faith, I read a short post from a well-known pastor who is stepping down from leading his church. What he shared about his process of pursuing God in the tension struck a chord with me, to the point I think it is worth sharing here.

“My wife and I are in a season of letting go of certainty and becoming friends with uncertainty. I am acutely aware of what my mind is doing in this season. If 2020 has taught us anything, it is [that] we are continually losing the battle of certainty, and uncertainty has become the new norm.

It was interesting to hear some respond to my analogy recently where I said “it feels like we are leaving a room and stepping into a hallway with no light on“ – It was concluded that we had not heard from God [because] He wouldn’t lead us into a hallway that had no light on. Might I say, not all darkness is evil.

My friend Randall Worley recently told me “the domesticated 21st-century man struggles to relate to a man from an ancient civilization embarking on a nomadic lifestyle. Our lives are more regimented and routine providing security in the daily sameness. But faith embraces the ambiguity of not knowing where it is being led, because it is so in love with the ONE who is leading.”

Perhaps one should read the Bible some more and notice the men and women that had no idea of what was happening next, but they knew WHO they were following. We love the God of revelation, but we struggle with the God of mystery. [Yet], we were also designed to explore the space in between the rooms of certainty. So we make things up to help us feel more secure and stable.

It’s human nature to fill empty spaces of understanding with speculation and conjure up possibilities merely for the purpose of having something to hold onto.

One of the greatest tragedies is we continue to cling to certainty and hope something new will come along. Our addiction to certainty is what keeps us trapped in our past. The reason why we limit God is because we have small minds that are allergic to uncertainty. The human mind craves certainty to the point that we often would rather reproduce our past actions to get results we are familiar with and come face-to-face with ambiguity.”

– Eric Johnson

“We love the God of revelation, but struggle with the God of mystery.” What beautiful thoughts and words that challenge my heart to engage my faith and stop reacting like everything that darkens my view, or shakes my life is an enemy.

How did Mary respond to the invitation into faith and uncertainty? She focused on the WHO more than the HOW! 

She responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” (Luke 1:38)

The Thrill of HOPE dawns on lives that are ready to let go of the old way, the best-perceived way, and sometimes even what we believe to be God’s way, and allow Him to lead them into the uncharted future only He can perceive and produce.

Advent Activation

Embrace uncertainty, and let faith arise. Look at the places where you’re asking God, “how can you fix, change, redeem, use, prosper…this?” and let HOPE rise from doubt! After all, without doubt, faith wouldn’t even exist, and without shaking, we wouldn’t recognize what a firm foundation we have in Christ! Feel free to share what the Lord shows you by commenting below, or emailing us!

We’d love to hear from and interact with you!

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Within our stories lies the power we need to overcome. Some of us struggle to recognize the overcoming power in our own story, as so many of them still hold loose ends, moments of intense loss, or perhaps unanswered questions. Paul so beautifully reminds us that it is “in our weakness” that Jesus is seen and made strong- and so therefore we can boast in our weakness! It is often our own stories of brokenness and pain that Jesus rides in with overcoming power.


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