The candle burns beside me, lifting the scent of potpourri like a gift. The flowers, half dead, droop across the table, and I don't have the heart to give them up, to declare them done. They are still beautiful in their own way. All things are beautiful in their own way when you have the eyes to see.
God's splendor is everywhere, but we're trained not to notice it, not to pay too much attention to this fallen world, this broken rock. We hasten Him--Come quickly Jesus. I cannot be here one more day. And we mean it as praise, mean to say that we can't wait to join Him, to be done with this place and all its sorrow.
But don't you know? Haven't you heard? Can't you see?
He is here.
He is here in the flickering candle, in the dead flowers, in the last glimpse of orange under a sinking sun. He is here in the mother feeding her newborn and the deer panting for water over the drying river. He is here, He is there. He is outside. He is in us.
This is the mystery of the whole crazy thing, that we can hope for the future and rest in the present, that redemption is right now and not yet. We experience it here, and yet we still wait. We wait for the fullness of Him.
We grow into it.
It is the only point I have to make. When you leave this page, close your browser, pick up your keys or your coffee or your babies and swing back into the rhythm of your day, of all the words you read this morning, let this be the one thing you remember:
we grow in the mysteries of God.
We do it not by resisting the questions, by squashing opposing perspectives, by simply surviving and wishing away this life.
We do it by surrendering to the truth that we don't know everything but He does. And He did it this way on purpose.
God, what a magnificent God, that He would leave questions unanswered, that He would beg for us in the clouds and the sunsets and the stars and that He would reach out to us in the flesh. What a glorious thing that He holds back and pours out and it's all a dance, isn't it? It's wild and heartbreaking and just when you think you'll snap right down the middle, He redeems. I cannot taste it enough; I cannot give up the warmth of it. Once I experienced the not-knowing, the seeking Him for every answer, I could never give it up. I pray I never give it up.
I wouldn't ask you to do it exactly my way, to follow left-right-left into the not-knowing, to cold-turkey quit everything you think you know about God. I wouldn't ask you to abandon your convictions or step away from truth He has shown you.
I am hoping only that you will ask the questions you've been scared to ask all along. Of yourself. Of Him. That you will be open to the uncertainty of stepping outside the man-made answers you've depended on too long. I ache for you to know this freedom. I am stirred up at the thought of it, the thought of you running without restraint toward Him, holding too tightly to nothing and letting it all wave through your fingers like water.
I am asking you to look for His answers but learn to be okay with silence.
It is not easy. The silence is cold before it is warm. It hurts before it helps. It's fresh air but feels like a chokehold. We are taught to fight it until we do enough to hear from God. We are told to fear it, to find it lacking. We are told that if we seek, we find, and we think that means right now and if it is not yet, we must be doing something wrong.
But if we have seen Christ, we have seen the Father. And this is what I know.
Christ answered questions for the sinners and the saints and sometimes with silence. Christ broke bread and turned water to wine and healed and cried and spoke to women and sent them out to proclaim the Gospel without any stipulations. Christ loved the poor and the rich and the broken and bruised. Christ forgave the liars and those who denied Him and told the warriors to put down their swords; He needed no defense. Christ asked God to forgive the people who tortured Him and spent His last few mortal breaths giving peace to a thief on a cross.
He flipped every expectation upside down and inside out.
Why would we ever refuse to let Him do the same among us?
If I could scream it loudly enough, I would. If I could whisper it soft enough to be carried across on the wind, I would breathe it out slowly. If I could run around with my hands waving, like a lunatic on fire, I would do that, too. I would give it all up-the reputation, the nods of approval. I would give it all away for you to know this: God lives. He loves. And He is here for the seeking.