There are times in every person’s journey when the reality of mystery collides with their carefully constructed life. I love how Michael Kelley describes “Mystery” in this video for Small Group Life. You see I was one of those spectators really comfortable with the idea of mystery because it didn’t really bother me. Up to that point in my life, mystery had never demanded anything of me. In fact, mystery only became real to me a few years ago through a very painful experience. When mystery finally invaded my constructed reality, it went by the name “divorce”. Suddenly I no longer had the luxury of of living with mystery as a concept or a theological discussion. Mystery absolutely and irreversibly demanded something of me, and I was on a razor’s edge for the outcome of that merciful collision. In the battle to make sense of being unwillingly thrust into the middle of mystery, I could either talk to God in ways I had never talked before and in the process share parts of me and emotions I had never shared before, or I could completely lock down and climb even deeper into the shell I was living and perhaps never feel again. Thankfully, I accepted the invitation to let God answer my hard, angry questions with “Who”, and as I discovered, that put an end to my relentless need for “why”.
As a small group leader, if one or more of your group members (or maybe your entire group) has a raw encounter with mystery, I hope you are able to guide the discussion with an appreciation for mystery that often only comes from a personal collision. Avoid the easy, cliche’ answers and embrace the mess that typically comes from the hard work of wrestling with mystery. Lean into these moments and pursue the invitation into a deeper intimacy that comes like the backwash of rough, turbulent rapids.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways” – Isaiah 55:8
If the idea of mystery connects with your group and you would like to spend more time exploring how God works through mystery, let me recommend a Bible study from the Canvas series called Mystery. Canvas is hosted by Pete Wilson who has a new book coming out called Plan B and is an incredible communicator and creative force.