I love a good mystery. When I travel I always take one along to read – it’s a form of escape for me. Some of my favorite mystery writers are Ted Bell, David Baldacci, Clive Cussler, John Grisham, James Paterson. As a matter of fact, last night I finished a John Grisham book and I have a Jeffery Archer book waiting for me. I have not read Archer before so I will review it after I have read it. I think Ted Bell is my favorite. He can’t write them fast enough for me!
Now before someone gets upset; no, these are not Christian books, per se. They are pure entertainment. As talented as Patricia Cornell is, I didn’t enjoy the one book of her’s I did read. The first book she wrote was a book about my mother, Time for Remembering – a delightful book. But her other books are dark, the language is vile and the details gruesome. So…I don’t read her or anyone who writes like that!
I am amazed that these writers can think of the plots, create them in their minds, put them to paper to entertain and intrigue us – mystery is intriguing. I am not usually one who goes to the last chapter to find out what happens – I like the mystery. And these good writers always seem to find a twist in their plots so the last page might not be much help until you get to it.
The dictionary says a mystery is “anything that is kept secret, remains unexplained or unknown…the quality of being obscure or puzzling…any truth unknowable except by divine revelation…”
Mystery is used in the Bible frequently. My concordance lists 22 times that the word “mystery” is used. “Mystery of the kingdom of God”; Paul has a discussion in Romans 11 about the mysterious relationship the Gentiles have with the Jews in the family of God. There is a “revelation of the mystery” (Ro. 16:25). Which in the context seems to mean the mystery of God’s patience that all might have the opportunity to know Him. I Corinthians 2:7 speaks of God’s “hidden wisdom”. In I Corinthians 15, Paul talks about the mystery surrounding the resurrection of our bodies. And again in Ephesians Paul mentions the mystery of God’s will in bringing all things together under the Lordship of Christ. Grace is mentioned as “mystery” in the way God is going to join the Jews and Gentiles in the promise of Jesus. He illustrates it with a picture of marriage, how two become one. Paul talks of the mystery of the Gospel. And in Colossians Paul says while it has been hidden for ages it is, Christ in you the hope of glory.” The book of Revelation is full of mystery: mystery of the seven stars (1:20), “the mystery of God will be accomplished just as he announced to his servants the prophets.” (10:7), the mystery of the woman on the beast (17:5. 7) There is much we do not know in Revelation. There are those who have tried to explain and some have true understanding by divine revelation. But those are few.
God has chosen to veil His truth. Partly as protection – we could not bear the whole of it. But also He hides it to make us seek it out, dig for it. We are promised that when we seek Him with our whole heart we will find Him. (Jer. 29:13) Jesus told us to seek His kingdom first and everything else would fall into place. (Mt. 6:33)
I have had these thoughts, incomplete at best, rolling around in my brain for a while now. One afternoon at the gym while my friend was putting me through my paces, I asked her what she thought the mystery of God was. She thought for a moment and said, “His methods.” I think she nailed it! To gain you have to loose. To live you have to die. To receive you have give…God does things inside out and backwards from us! It’s a mystery.
Job 9:10 says, “Who doth great things past finding out”….and in 26:14 he tells us, “These are but the edges (fringes) of His ways”. Romans 11:33 says, “Oh the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgements and His paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord?”
We serve a mighty, powerful, awesome God. He is beyond our imagination and beyond our comprehension. Yet He reveals Himself to us as we diligently, earnestly seek Him. He wants to be found by us; wants us to seek Him and know Him intimately. He is a God who can be known in personal relationship. And it is an adventure to seek Him!