PEACE MAKES THE DIFFERENCE IN OUR UNDERSTANDING
Monday, December 5th
Mastery: skill or knowledge that makes one master of a subject
Mystery: something not understood or beyond understanding; profound, inexplicable, or secretive quality or character; a religious truth that one can know only by revelation and cannot fully understand
“When I get to heaven, I am going to ask God about this…”
“I wish I could make sense of this…”
“I find it difficult to believe God loves us when God allows this to happen…”
This earthly life raises so many questions about God, doesn’t it? Do you ever wish you could resolve what seems senseless or confusing in life, understand God’s ways (and whys), or find definitive answers for your questions and doubts? I know I do…
One of my resolutions this year was to learn more about the Bible. Through podcasts and books, I have learned more about the historical and cultural settings, the purposes of biblical writers, the symbolisms in stories. The insights of experts have increased my understanding and deepened my appreciation of the Bible and its purpose. I am grateful for all I have learned.
But any increased mastery of the Bible will never fully uncover the mystery of God.
Oh, there are some essential truths we can know about God. Through Jesus, we know that God is infinite love, that God is always leading us to wholeness and goodness, and that God brings resurrection and new life in every loss. Through the Spirit, we can receive God’s guidance and insight.
Jesus and the Spirit reveal the essence of God, while respecting and retaining the mystery of God.
As I reflect today, I wonder if my wish to understand everything about God and life stems from an inner desire to manage my days with reason and logic, as if I could then somehow direct and protect my life. But given the choice – my human mastery or God’s divine mystery – to be in charge of my earthly and eternal life, I would certainly and always choose God. If I could persuade or suggest or reason with or question God with my limited human understanding, well, I would have my doubts about God!
And this holy mystery brings us the gift of Advent Peace.
Our Advent Peace is found in the mystery of God and our own unknowing, giving us rich depths of faith, trust, and reverence. This Peace fills us with awe and wonder and brings a deeper meaning to all of life. We can sense that life is much more than what meets the eye, that there is some unfathomable sacred mystery beyond this everyday experience. This Peace comes in the awareness that we cannot fully know God, but God fully knows us (even better than we can know ourselves).
This Advent Peace comes when we stop wishing to understand God and begin knowing to trust God – the One who created us, who cares for us with goodness and mercy, who knows our every need. Advent Peace is ours because Infinite Love is holding and helping us along our life’s journey, all the way into eternity.
Praise the Lord!
How good it is to sing praises to our God,
for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting.
The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars;
he gives to all of them their names.
Great is our Lord and abundant in power;
his understanding is beyond measure.
The Lord lifts up the downtrodden;
he casts the wicked to the ground.
Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
make melody to our God on the lyre.
He covers the heavens with clouds,
prepares rain for the earth,
makes grass grow on the hills.
He gives to the animals their food
and to the young ravens when they cry.
His delight is not in the strength of the horse
nor his pleasure in the speed of a runner,
but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.
(Psalm 147:1-11 NRSVUE)