By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory. I Timothy 3:16
I’ve always loved mysteries from Poirot to Miss Marple to Sherlock Holmes to J. B. Fletcher. And, of course, there’s Father Brown. On family visits to London, we never miss a viewing of Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap that has run continuously for over 60 years. I just love searching for clues and putting them together to finally discover what should have been obvious from the beginning, if one had eyes to see (or ears to hear).
So, with all this experience in the format, why am I so often slow in understanding what Jesus told his disciples about life in the Kingdom? He even said that “it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven…,” so I’m certain it must be true. (Matthew 13:11)
I heard lots of things in Sunday school such as give Jesus all your worries (I Peter 5:7), don’t be afraid (I Timothy 1:7), God will supply all your needs (Philippians 4:19), God will make you what he wants you to be (Philippians 2:13), and on and on. Essentially, I learned that everything I will ever need in my lifetime has already been given me by my heavenly Father. And the same applies to all his children.
Here we’ve lived with a plethora of words that are waiting to become activated by the Living Word. He’s promised, but we have to access. Isaiah even warned us (45:15) that God hides himself. Curious, isn’t it? In other words, God’s just not handing out truths and transformation as a weekend special. He’s waiting for those who are intent on digging out the mysteries of the kingdom; those who are willing to take him at his word; and those who will take breathtaking leaps of faith. Makes no sense at all, Lord, but you said it, so I’ll try it. We soar out into the abyss in complete surrender and find that underneath ARE the everlasting arms.
And that’s the way the mysteries are solved. Every time we get a road block in life, we search for the clues, and we untangle them. Lord, what are you saying here? What am I to do? We obey, and the way becomes clear. We continue in obedience, and understanding follows. It’s really that simple. It’s always been so. “Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In ALL thy ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5, 6).
Father, remind us that you give understanding as we rely totally on you. Following Jesus is not as hard as we make it. Help us to just give up. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.