Jesus Is The Worst Mystery Ever
By Beth Demme
Sometimes words come out of my mouth, and I’m astounded at how awful they sound. It’s even more shocking when I then repeat those words.
“Jesus is like, um, the worst mystery ever,” I said to a room full of Christians. “Yep, Jesus is no good at being a mystery,” I then repeated.
I was speaking to a group of moms and children at a retreat designed just for them. The theme for the weekend was “A Holy Mystery,” based on Colossians 2:2-3 where Paul (or whoever wrote Colossians) refers to Christ as “God’s mystery, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
Of course, God is a mystery. Of course, the incarnational truth of Jesus is mysterious. Of course, the Trinity is beyond explanation.
I wasn’t disputing any of that. My point was that once we start looking for clues, we see God all around us and even in us. As strange as my words sounded, they weren’t wrong.
Although we will never be able to completely explain God, the love of God is not hidden from us.
As I stood in a room full of moms and kiddos, with my daughter at my side, I was overwhelmed with the truth of how much God loves us.
It makes sense that the love between mother and child would make me think of God. Consider what 1 John 4 says:
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. … We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:7-9, 19 (NRSV) (emphasis added)
When my children were both toddlers, I was a crummy mom. Honestly, I was.
I knew I was crummy at the time. I knew I wasn’t doing a good enough job controlling my temper, taking care of myself, or thinking through my parenting decisions.
I also knew my kids deserved the best mom possible.
I prayed that God would change me. I prayed that God would make me different.
Have you ever asked God to make you different?
My prayer was answered, but not with an instant change-o, presto. Instead, I felt God’s presence, and my perspective changed. I came to understand that God chose me for my children.
Because I’m a mom by adoption, I always knew my children were chosen for me. But as I prayed for God to change me, I began to understand I was chosen for my children. God chose me for them, knowing I was going to be an imperfect parent.
I experienced the truth and depth of God’s unconditional love in an undeniable way.
Experiencing this truth transformed me. It didn’t instantly make me a better mom, but it gave me the courage to work on the issues that were getting in my way. Because I understood God was with me despite my imperfection, I was willing to seek and receive healing. In that way, I became a better mom and a better person.
That is to say, I am becoming. I certainly haven’t arrived at perfection or even at a location in the neighborhood of perfection. I fail often, but no matter how often I fail, I can still turn to God.
God is always there for me.
And a God who is always available, never hidden, is, in a way, the worst mystery ever.
What do you think? Do you think God is mysterious, but not mysterious at the same time? Have you prayed that God would make you different? Tell me about it in the comments, in an e-mail, or on Facebook. I would love to hear from you.
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