What Exploring Mysteries Can Show You about God
- Whitney Hopler Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2021 6 Jan
What mysteries are you wondering about right now? Whether they’re mysterious public events (such as UFO appearances or miraculous apparitions) or private experiences (such as a message in a dream or a possible heavenly sign from a loved one), you can be thrilled by the excitement of mysteries. Mysteries are more than just intriguing encounters, though. They can show you important truths about the source of all wonder: God. Here’s what exploring mysteries can show you about God.
Mysteries Show That God’s Creativity Is Infinite
Despite all we currently know about creation, there is still much to learn. Humanity is still discovering more of what our Creator has made – from new species in Earth’s oceans to new planets in the universe. Even what we already know about contains many new aspects to discover. Just think about someone you love. You already have some knowledge about him or her, but every conversation can teach you about another intriguing facet of that person whom God has created.
Simply spending time in nature can reveal more about the mysteries of God’s boundless creativity. Every part of nature can show you something valuable about God. Romans 1:20 points out, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” You can get to know your Creator’s boundless creativity more while exploring natural settings. In my book Wake Up to Wonder, I describe how parts of nature commonly found around the world – the sun, water, rocks, trees, and flowers – reveal more about the mystery of who God is and how we can relate to him.
Mysteries can spark your curiosity to seek God more – and when you do, you can encounter wonder that will expand your perspective.
Mysteries Show That God Values Lifelong Learning
When you encounter a mystery, you’re challenged to go beyond the limits of what you know, what you understand, and what you think is possible. Mysteries challenge you to step out of your comfort zone. They call you to evaluate and expand the ways you think and feel, opening doors for you to walk through to wonder.
Jesus invites you to learn from him continually. He says in Matthew 11:29, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Day by day, Jesus leads you to new adventures, from which you can learn valuable lessons about love and wisdom. Many of those adventures will bring you into contact with mysteries.
In order to learn from mysteries, however, you need to be willing to humble yourself. As I describe in Wake Up to Wonder, it was only after I’d nearly died in the Grand Canyon that I humbled myself enough to cry out to God for help. God answered by sending a mysterious angel to the rescue. That encounter showed me how much I still had to learn, and how much God still wanted to teach me. Mysteries challenge your assumptions and push your worldview to expand. If you’re humble enough to pay attention to mysteries that go beyond your own perspective, you can come face to face with wonder.
Mysteries can be both attractive and disturbing. You can be intrigued by what you don’t understand and want to learn more. You can also be scared or threatened by the unknown. You may be tempted to ignore mysteries rather than risk the mess of having them challenge your worldview. Don’t let fear close your mind to learning from them, however. Mysteries call you to step out of your comfort zone and dance with your doubts and faith toward what may be something wonderful!
Mysteries Show That God Values Wise Discernment
You can be deceived by mysterious signs and wonders that come from negative sources, such as fallen angels (2 Thessalonians 2:9) and unfaithful people (Matthew 24:24). However, you can be blessed by mysterious signs and wonders that genuinely reflect God at work – such as those that reflect the Holy Spirit working through believers (Acts 2:43). Therefore, it’s wise to keep your mind open when you encounter mysteries and ask the Holy Spirit to give you discernment to respond wisely. You shouldn’t be afraid, but neither should you be naïve.
In 1 John 4:1-3, the Bible explains a security system to use when encountering mysteries: “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.” You wouldn’t leave the front door of your home unlocked so anyone could walk in anytime, regardless of whether you knew and trusted them. Since your soul is much more valuable than your home, it’s vital to secure your souls spiritually as you would secure your home physically. Check-in with God about every mystery you encounter.
God uses genuine mysteries to build meaningful relationships with his children for good purposes – including growing in wisdom by seeking his guidance.
Mysteries Show That God Values Faith
When God sends mysterious signs and wonders into your life, you don’t need to worry about figuring out exactly what they mean. You’re free to receive those experiences as the gifts they are if you let them inspire you to seek God more. The purpose of God-given mysteries is always to strengthen faith. God wants more from you than simply enjoying a thrill and moving on when he sends us a wonderful mystery. He wants you to believe in his power in deeper ways.
The Bible story of Jesus miraculously healing a royal official’s dying son records an interesting comment: “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe” (John 4:48). God seems to prefer that people believe in his power without needing mysterious signs and wonders to do so. But God is willing to send mysteries into our lives when they strengthen our faith. The father whose son Jesus healed showed faith in action when approaching God. “‘Go,’ Jesus replied, ‘your son will live.’ The man took Jesus at his word and departed” (John 4:50). That was the exact moment when the dying son was healed, the rest of the story reveals.
When you respond to mysteries by approaching God with faith – rather than trying to analyze, understand, or doubt what God chooses to do – you welcome potential miracles into your life. The way you respond to mysteries shows you where you’re placing your faith. If your faith doesn’t go beyond yourself, you’ll dismiss mysteries that are greater than your personal comfort zone – and miss truly wondrous experiences in the process. However, you can be greatly blessed if you place your faith in the giver – God – and pay attention to what mysteries can tell you about him.
Mysteries Show That God Is Worthy of Trusting
As mysteries strengthen your faith, they can inspire you to trust God in deeper ways. Ultimately, all mysteries will point you to Jesus, whom Colossians 2:2 refers to as being “the mystery of God” himself and in whom Colossians 2:3 says, “are hidden all treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
When you trust God through a relationship with Jesus, God moves closer to you, and the natural result of God coming closer to you is that you experience miracles. Miracles are simply messages from God. The closer your relationship with God becomes, the more you can perceive them. Miracles seem extraordinary when they’re mysterious, but for God, they’re simply business as usual.
Mysteries can lead you to feel awe for God, who is beyond all limits and the source of all wonder. Invite God to turn mysteries into miracles in your life!
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Frank Mckenna
Whitney Hopler is author of the Wake Up to Wonder book and the Wake Up to Wonder blog, which help people thrive through experiencing awe. She leads the communications work at George Mason University’s Center for the Advancement of Well-Being. Whitney has served as a writer, editor, and website developer for leading media organizations, including Crosswalk.com, The Salvation Army USA’s national publications, and Dotdash.com (where she produced a popular channel on angels and miracles). Connect with Whitney on Twitter and Facebook.