One of those shows I can watch is Castle. Sadly it's not on any longer. It was a crime-solving dramedy that had two persistent story lines. One involved a serial killer, the other an unsolved murder. As the storylines unfolded over 8 glorious seasons, the mystery never lost its appeal with me. The mystery always kept me coming back for more.
As I will read Day 30 of Abiding in Christ tomorrow morning, I must say, the mystery of abiding is still driving me crazy. Not because I don't understand how it's supposed to happen, but how I will know it is happening. This tiny little devotional is challenging me on such deep levels because the truth is, when it comes to abiding, you can't know if you're doing it right or not. Jesus is just holding on to you and you are blindly trusting that knowledge in faith. It remains mysterious from start to finish.
What I didn't realize until today is that my struggle with this does not stem from the mystery of it all. No, because then I could just pray for my heart to fully accept that the secret things belong to God. Instead this is all about approval addiction and desperately wanting to believe that I can do this right, or more right, and control issues because I want to make sure it's happening, not just trust that it is. Clearly I have some deep-seated issues.
Day 29 of the devotional ends with this: "Jesus Christ will indeed take possession of you and dwell in you; and in the restfulness, peace, and grace of the new life, you will have unceasing joy at the wondrous exchange that has been made - the coming out of self to abide in Christ alone." What's not shocking about this notion is that my experience has been exactly this. I think that I'm not there, I assume that I am not growing in Christ, I feel like I am not doing enough, and then He reminds me of all He's done in and through me as I just kept going, doing what He'd been assigning, and somehow without my knowledge or intentional participation, He'd been making things happen. It's wonderful, but to be honest, kind of annoying, too.
The great temptation in all of this is to try and figure it out. To grab that apple with both hands and consume the entire thing, thinking that my knowledge of the inner-workings of God will somehow enhance my relationship with Him. But if I attempt to put Him in a box and reduce Him to an equation whose formula I can do without hesitation, I won't be making Him bigger, I'll be continually making Him smaller and in the process lose every ounce of awe I expereince when He reveals what He's done. And worse yet, I'll try to repeat it over and over and over again to get an experience of God rather than an encounter with God. Ouch.
The struggle to know more, or as much as we can, isn't new. That started way before our time. But maybe instead of repeating the same foolish mistakes made in the garden, we can learn a lesson and accept that some things are better left as a mystery. And rather than ignore it, we can marvel at it, and truly worship the God who chooses to reveal Himself strategically to grow our faith.