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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Living in the Sea of Unknowing

I find it amazing how God helps us connect the dots in our life.

In a devotional book that I use, I was directed today to consider the value of "this day." Not looking ahead and putting all my heart and my hopes in tomorrow, but rather looking around and appreciating the beauty and mystery of today.

I tend to think of most of my days as common and ordinary, yet perhaps in this I am making an assumption; that what is common and ordinary will lack any mystery or surprise by God himself. In the book I was reading, Abraham Heschel says, "To pray is to take notice of the wonder, to gain a sense of the mystery that animates all beings, the divine margin in all attainments. Prayer is our humble answer to the inconceivable surprise of living." (Man's Quest for God) I was reminded today that God most often reveals his wonder and glory to me during moments that I might otherwise excuse as ordinary.

Later, I found myself at Greg Boyd's church, Woodland Hills, just outside of St. Paul. Boyd's text for today was from the gospel of Luke, chapter 11. Here, Jesus is telling his disciples how they should approach prayer; to keep on asking and knocking because God gives good gifts to those who ask in this way. Boyd launched off this text to talk about prayer, and his main point was that we pray because we know and understand so very little in this world that God has created. He said that we float on a small island of supposed knowledge in a vast sea of mystery. When we grab a hold of this, we learn to pray, not because we have a prayer formula that works, but because we are reliant on God to reveal himself, and His will, to us.

My mind drifts to the words of the apostle Paul in Corinthians, quoting Isaiah the prophet, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him." When we believe that God and His kingdom are much larger than we can get our minds around, when we embrace that we know very little of how prayer, and life, and spiritual things work, we can truly celebrate that what God has in mind for us is more than we can possibly imagine. It is a wonderful sea of mystery that God invites us enter, unsure of what will happen but confident in his unfailing love for us. "This day", even in its commonness and routine, holds incredible potential.

In an era where "all" knowledge is a mouse-click away, may you rest in the mystery of God's creation and our limited knowledge, which forces us to depend wholly on Him.

Enjoy the journey and embrace the mystery,

Nick

4 comments:

Chrispy said...

This is so true. Today this point really hit me over the head. I have been really future and past focused of late. When I was sharing with a few ladies after service, I realized that right now in this place and day. Life is way better and God is evidently active in my dreams and future. He is blessing them in ways that I never imagined as he pushes me in the direction he has laid out for me. He is setting me up for great things in my marriage, in my life and in my business.

Pastor Nick said...

I am glad for your confidence in what God is doing! I think what makes today so important is God's tendency to lead us one step at a time. We'd like to see our future and know where we're head, but I find that God shows us the next thing. And where does that next step usually occur? Today. Right now. As we follow Him, one step at a time, today, we will follow God to the future He has in store for us.

Anonymous said...

For someone who likes the touchable, tasteable, concrete things in life, I find this my biggest leap. I'm not saying I'm so super smart that even I, the great and wonderful Britt, should be able to comprehend what God has in store, but it is frustrating that God wouldn't make faith more simple. If He desires us all to know Him, wouldn't he make that knowledge easier to grasp?

Sometimes I find the "not knowing" comforting because it means I don't have to worry about things I can't control, but sometimes it drives me bananas.

--Britt

Pastor Nick said...

I've always thought that if faith were too easy or simple, it would be bad for me, because then I'd try to control it or think I knew it all. When it is difficult or even consfusing, it helps keep us humble.