When I was young I loved Nancy Drew books. I was never much of a reader, but I always loved a good mystery. I especially loved when Nancy met up with those Hardy Boys :) I love the storytelling behind a mystery. But that was then......
Now I look at my life and the mystery is a bit bigger than a Nancy Drew story that ends well. There are things I just don't understand. There are questions my girls ask that I just don't have the answer to. A mystery. And I am not really a fan of a good mystery story if the main character is me! And the more that I have obeyed the Lord, the more I have seen mystery. The unexplainable. The unexpected. The good and the ugly.
This week my reading was John 7:53-8:11. It is the story of the adulterous woman. The Teachers of the Law and Pharisees bring a woman who was caught in the act of adultery. They presented her before Jesus and told Him that the Law of Moses states to stone her, what would He say? Really they were trying to trap Jesus. But Jesus cannot be trapped. He stoops down, writes in the dust, and then asks the person without sin to throw the first stone. Then He stooped down again and wrote in the sand a second time. The accusers began slipping away one after the other. Then Jesus tells the woman that He does not condemn her, to go and sin no more.
I'm left with a few questions:
*How did they catch this woman?
Did they know her well enough to know?
Did they trap her as well?
*What did Jesus write in the sand?
And I learn.......there is a mystery to Jesus. We often study the characteristics of God. We need to know them. They become the foundation we stand upon. But what about this characteristic. His mystery. We don't know what He wrote in the sand.....but we know what it caused. It caused accusers to walk away. It caused them to be silent. And it caused a woman to be redeemed.
And I knew Jesus was talking directly to me.
We are living in the tension of a lot of mystery right now in our life. And there are times I hear the voice of doubt. The voice of fear. The voice of insecurity. The voice of pride. Trying to deflect me. But I know that Jesus is writing this story. And though I can't read all of it right now......I can be assured that it will silence my doubts, my fears, my insecurities, and shed my pride. And ultimately, it will redeem me. I am learning that Jesus redeems me over and over and over and over again. He is not done with me....and I hope He never will be. I hope to always be transformed. And even though, I don't always understand the ways in which He works, I know that He is always working.
So I am embracing mystery
I am embracing the one who is revealing more of Himself to me through mystery
And in it all, I am choosing to praise. Choosing to place myself in a position for praise. Because, if my eyes are always on the mystery, I will miss the moment. And if I miss the moment, I miss the praise. At Created for Care (adoption conference) this year, our speaker held up a tambourine. She said she never leaves home without it. Because you see, when the Israelites were finally released from slavery in Egypt they had a small window of time to get their things and GO! You are Free! Can you imagine the excitement of that town crier? "We are free! We are free! Meet Moses in the town square" (this is not scriptural). I cannot imagine what I would honestly pack if I knew I was leaving. Did they know where they were headed? Did they know for how long? How did they really know what to pack? They head off, only to see that the Egyptians changed their mind and were coming after them. They come to the Red Sea, Moses picks up his staff and raises his hand over the sea. The waters divided (a mystery) and the Israelites walk through the middle of the sea on dry ground (another amazing mystery) The waters then closed on all the Egyptians. We may not know everything about what they packed. We can probably know it was something they could carry. And they got it through the Red Sea. But we do know one thing the women packed:
"Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron's sister, took her tambourine and led all the women as they played their tambourines and danced." Exodus 15:20
So yes, my story is much like this. Full of the expected. Full of the mystery. But one thing I want to be sure of, is that I am in a position to praise. The women didn't know where they were headed or for how long. They didn't know where their next home would be. They didn't know much of anything really. But one thing they did know was that they were going to be praising God. When they looked around their home, the one thing they all knew that needed to be in their bag was their tambourine. Because they knew God was going to show up and they knew He was worthy of their praise! And they knew all of this, even in the mystery.
I still have lots of questions for God. And I still have lots of a story left to unravel. I could be hunkering down or I could be moving away. But either way, I want to position myself in a place of praise. Because amidst the mystery, I know the one who is writing. And I know Him to be good, faithful, sovereign, loving, generous, merciful, and mighty......and yes.....mysterious. I want all of Him. Even when it leaves me with question. But the one thing it always leaves me with is praise.