Monthly Archives: August 2013

Moments of Mystery – Part 1

Moments of MysteryYou’ve heard it before, “Inquiring minds need to know.”  Does that describe you? Do you collect bits of trivia because you never know when the information gleaned might come in handy, like when you are a contestant on Jeopardy and need to formulate a question to the answer, “The leading cause of toenail fungus in Southern Hemisphere sloths.” Have you developed skills, such as eavesdropping or jumping to conclusions just because you are intrigued by what you don’t know? Do you love a mystery and enjoy speculating about whodunit before that information is fully revealed?

Maybe you are on the other end of the spectrum, and don’t feel a compulsion for speculation.  When others drone on about personal details you did not ask for, you are not embarrassed to say, “TMI, that is more than I want to know about that subject!” You believe that life’s perplexing questions block your path often enough, without intentionally trying to stumble upon more of them.

Most of us probably fall somewhere in between the two extremes, striking a balance between being inquisitive and being contented to mind our own business. Yet there is something to be said about a sense of wonder and mystery. A four year old’s constant barrage of questions about who and what and why and where and when may reach the point of annoyance, but you can’t help admiring their quest for understanding. The world is opening up to them and their mind is beginning to grasp for answers, thus their questions pepper us with pleas for an explanation to all things observed in their environment.

In the age of information, we expect instant answers to every inquiry and problem. Knowledge our parents might have spent hours gleaning from searching card catalogs and library shelves we discover only a click or swipe away. If Google doesn’t know, Bing might, and Siri will be glad to answer, even if she provides nothing more than comic relief. “How far is to Lincoln?” you may ask while driving a Nebraska highway.

“There are four restaurants nearby that serve ling cod,” she replies to your question. Grrr…

To solve a really perplexing puzzle takes time. Gleaning valuable skills and insight requires years of intensive study and practice. You can’t become a board certified brain surgeon by taking a three week online class or watching a couple of YouTube videos. The same is true for any worthwhile pursuit. So why do we sometimes expect our journey with Christ will only lead us on happy trails filled with light and road signs every mile or so explaining our precise location and the exact conditions ahead?

Is it possible that the road of suffering might provide moments of mystery for our benefit? Could those dark shadows from the threatening storm cause us to cling ever closer to Jesus? Might our faith muscles stretch and develop through the twists and turns of an uphill climb when we don’t know exactly what lies around the next bend? Could the mystery of those moments cause us to speak with a little less certainty about our own ability and instead trust more fully in God’s? And is it possible that we are better for those mysterious moments because we can now encourage fellow travelers to keep climbing, keep pursuing, and keep moving forward because we have felt the hand of the Good Shepherd leading us through the darkness of the valley of the shadow of death?

Inquiring minds need to know, yet there are times when no easy answer comes. Ask Jesus. His plea, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” was met with silence on earth. Yet you can be sure it was heard in heaven. He understands the moments of mystery you face. And you don’t have to face them alone.