God’s Just Too Hard To Understand

“Can you search out the deep things of God?
Can you find out the limits of the Almighty?
They are higher than heaven— what can you do?
Deeper than Sheol— what can you know?”
Job 11:7-8

“I just don’t get God.”

I looked at the guy. I understood his struggle. But I also knew he was never going to understand until he gave up trying to figure it out.

None of us will.

One of the prophets stated the reason clearly: we don’t think like God.

And yet, the Apostle Paul tells us, in more than one of his letters, we have the mind of Christ.

Long ago I claimed Colossians 2:2 as my guiding verse: My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ.

I think the key is tucked in the middle of that verse: the mystery of God.

Who doesn’t love a good mystery?

I have learned there are two kinds of people when it comes to mysteries: ones who try to figure out the “who done it” as quickly as they can; and those (like me) who focus on the story and let it unfold without having to figure it out.

Living in the unfolding takes trust. And I understand how difficult it can be to trust.

At some point in my spiritual journey I heard a quote and I wrote it down in the back of my Bible. I liked it so much that I moved it to the front–it was too good to be buried in the back:

WP mystery

Here’s something that might help you hang in there when life is confusing and God’s way of doing things is hard to grasp: I’ve read the end of the book–and we win. Hold on!

The old gospel song says it best: we’ll understand it better, by and by.

PRAYER: God of mystery thank you for not being a God of confusion. Thank you for teaching us that even though we don’t understand what you’re doing, you’re still active, interested, and working in our lives. Keep the life of Jesus and the mind of Jesus before us so we can see you better and trust you more. Amen.

Wondering and Wandering: In Case You Really Wondered

“If you want God, and long for union with him, yet sometimes wonder what that means or whether it can mean anything at all, you are already walking with the God who comes. If you are at times so weary and involved with the struggle of living that you have no strength even to want [God], yet are still dissatisfied that you don’t, you are already keeping Advent in your life. If you have ever had an obscure intuition that the truth of things is somehow better, greater, more wonderful than you deserve or desire, that the touch of God in your life stills you by its gentleness, that there is a mercy beyond anything you could ever suspect, you are already drawn in the central mystery of salvation.” From The Coming of God by Maria Boulding

Yesterday morning our choir opened the service with a medley of songs. One of the songs in the medley was Pat A Pan. I had played this song many Christmases when I was a child, all the way through High School–I never knew it had words! Here are a couple of the verses (which happen to be very stuck in my brain since yesterday morning:
When the men of olden days
To the King of Kings gave praise,
On the fife and drum did play,

On the fife and drum did play,
So their hearts were glad and gay!

God and man today become
More in tune than fife and drum,
So be merry while you play,

The thought of us becoming more in tune with God probably stuck with me more than the song–although it’s there too. Being in tune, getting in tune, staying in tune, these are the essentials of Advent. The natural thing is to rush into the shopping, parties, and trappings of the holidays, but that leaves us missing the important spiritual components.

I’m much more of a minimalist when it comes to the external stuff. I want to focus on the God who comes…what will it take to clear your focus? How will you get in tune? Oh, don’t miss the mystery, the beauty, the gift.

Book Review: Nothing to Hide

Nothing to Hide, A Roland March Mystery
Author: J. Mark Bertrand
Publisher: Bethany House
Pages: 328

Nothing to Hide
This book is part of a series by this author. I’ve read reviews of the other books and while this book is able to stand on its own, it does follow the other books sequentially. I was able to catch the spots where the author linked back to previous story lines, but it wasn’t ever too much information or too little.

In this book, the author jumped back and forth, however to a back story several times throughout this book. All the information was pertinent to the current story, but I am just not a huge fan of this format. At times I found myself wanting to move on, and we dropped back in time. I get that the flashbacks, if all told at once in the beginning, probably would have spoiled the surprises as the story unfolded.

I will admit that I had to read the first few sentences several times before I “got it.” If your first lines are supposed to grab, then I’m not sure these succeeded. If I hadn’t committed to finishing, I would have been hard pressed to get past the first few pages.

But I did. And it was ok. I’m not one to try and figure things out, so I stayed with it to the end. I was surprised. That’s good.

If you liked the previous books by this author, then you will probably like this one. If you like surprises, then you might enjoy this. If you struggle with violence and gory stuff, this might not be your best choice.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Bethany House blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.

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