When I drove up to my house, I noticed a big colorful box on our front porch, and it was curious to me. What did we order? When I collected the box, it had bright pictures of vegetables with a splashed title, “Delicious Stir Fry.” I wondered who in our house ordered a huge box of stir fry because some of my kids are less than enthusiastic about vegetables. When I asked my husband if he was starting a new diet that was vegetable intense, he chuckled, “No, not anytime soon.” So how did this box come to land on our front porch? It was really mysterious to me.
Can you think of some things in your life that are mysteries for you with God? Have you ever asked God why something happened in your life? Have you ever wondered why God put some stuff in the Bible, like the mold protocols in Leviticus? Or the extensive genealogy lists in Numbers? Why did Jesus get cranky sometimes with His disciples? I have lots of questions for God, and there are mysteries that I experience when it comes to thinking about God.
To that end, in the Bible, I see lots of people asking God questions and wrestling with God at various stages in their lives and in diverse experiences. For example, when I read the book of Job, I see him angry, frustrated, perplexed, unclear and unraveled with God. Furthermore, if you read the conversation between God and Moses that starts in Exodus chapter 3, you’ll see Moses asking God questions, and I think there’s an undertone of frustration and disappointment with his life at that time (herding sheep in the wilderness for forty years). We can also hear anguish and pain in Martha and Mary’s statements to Jesus after their brother Lazarus had died. “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21). These sisters had asked Jesus to come several days earlier so that He would heal their brother. But that didn’t happen.
In my opinion, I think it’s a universal human experience to ask God “why.” When we can’t seem to get an answer from God, then we often try to find answers from other humans by reading books, blogs, following influencers, searching the Bible for solutions, and other strategies. Sometimes we get angry, disappointed, frustrated, compromised in our faith and lots of other challenging emotions.
So how can we navigate mysteries with God in ways that can be constructive? For starters, I think that we have to come to accept that we cannot know everything for the simple reason that we are finite and our comprehension abilities are limited no matter how smart we might be. I also think we would be wise to acknowledge how we feel but ultimately decide to trust God because of His unchanging character. Let’s remember that the lovingkindness of God endures forever, based on Psalm 136. Finally, perhaps it can be helpful to remember 1 Corinthians 13:12, a powerful verse in the “Love Chapter.” In this verse, Paul writes, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.”
In our human journey, maybe we can come to accept that some mysteries are unknowable at this time. Unlike some of these big mysteries with God, my small stir fry vegetables mystery was solved fairly easily. I texted a neighbor, and they quickly replied that they were relieved to find out what happened to their misplaced stir fry order. We delivered the stir fry box, and everyone’s world is back in alignment for the moment. Mystery solved.