Mysteries appear intriguing, even fun. Unless you are in the middle of one.
I am not talking about the everyday mysteries that interrupt our days. Lost socks, misplaced cash, or bills can be annoying. There is something unsettling about not being in control. Some people can let the trivial unexplainable things roll off their backs without any wasted energy. But others, like me, struggle a bit.
Big mysteries though open up the previously assumed worldviews and theologies bound up in the mind. What if God’s character revelation does not line up with what I thought? How do I reconcile seeming paradoxes within it? Can I live with the unknown?
My accident, for better or worse, has allowed me time to ponder. While I have gained a lot of wisdom about God’s hand at work and facets of character, mystery still abounds. I am incredibly thankful for my life being spared. There was every earthly reason why I should have been injured far more severely, if not dead. Truthfully, I hold a tension here because I have close friends and family who did survive their accidents. I didn’t understand them then and I still don’t. Full stop.
But, as I wrestle with that truth, I know that “nothing new is under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). From the beginning of humanity, life from our limited view has not made sense. And people respond to that truth in a lot of ways. Biblical scholar N.T. Wright says, ““It is no part of the Christian vocation, then, to be able to explain what’s happening and why. In fact, it is part of the Christian vocation not to be able to explain—and to lament instead. As the Spirit laments within us, so we become, even in our self-isolation, small shrines where the presence and healing love of God can dwell. And out of that there can emerge new possibilities, new acts of kindness, new scientific understanding, new hope.”
So I am learning to live my moments in a place of paradox. Everyday brings me into a new way of encountering God’s face and movement. It may happen through moments of joy, sorrow or confusion. But they form the fabric of this life. And with God’s help, I will cling to it, wrinkles and all.