There’s something in us that loves a good mystery, that revels in paradox.
Perhaps it’s because we’re made in God’s image, and he loves it, too. I’m not sure why it’s so. But it’s everywhere in Scripture, beginning with the Old Testament that tells us what we can’t do followed by the New Testament that dispenses with rules and introduces us to grace.
When I was younger and bored by sermons during church, I’d meditate on the paradoxes of the faith. While the preacher was droning on, I would write an essay about a particular paradox.
On the outside, it looked like I was just taking good sermon notes. But what I was really doing was exploring secrets of the kingdom. I have a group of guys that I disciple on Tuesdays. It’s the sort of thing we love to talk about. In fact, here are five conversations we might one day have about God’s secrets:
1. You were made to be dangerous and have to fight against comfort.
Everything in us wants to be comfortable, but there is nothing comfortable about faith. We were made to fight evil, to be a threat to the forces of injustice in the world. We have access to the power of God as we put comfort at risk. There is a verse
where God declares, “You are my battleaxe.” It’s poetic because it’s true – we are dangerous weapons in God’s hands.
2. You have to leave on a journey to find your true self.
People with the best of intentions can keep friends and family members from discovering the deeper aspects of their identity. One reason “no prophet is welcome in his hometown” (Luke 4:24) is that they have to leave to discover their gift. Harsh tests may await you out on your journey, but beyond them is an understanding of who God made you to be.
3. You have to be broken to discover how strong you are.
Strength in weakness is one of the great themes of the Bible. God delights in showing up in the 11th hour when our hands our empty. His strength is actually perfected in our weakness (2 Cor. 12:9
). The passage to divine power leads through brokenness.
4. The world will hate you, but that’s okay.
When Jesus sent his disciples out on a journey, he didn’t make it easy. He sent them with a warning (Matt. 10
) of how hard it was going to be for them. And while he didn’t make it easy, he did say three times, “Don’t be afraid.” Our journeys into the dark places in life may feel lonely, but Jesus goes with us there.
5. You can hear God speak in the silence.
The really great news is God is not hiding in mystery. He is a relational God and wants to be known. If we’ll quiet ourselves and wait on him, he will show up and speak to us in whispers that touch our souls. Jesus tells us
that his sheep hear his voice. The world’s noise can get in the way. If we hunger for God, we’ll find him in the quiet places.