Wait for the Mystery

Mystery – Sara Groves

I keep hearing this line: My body’s tired from trying to bring you here.

You see, I love the presence of God.  Some people feel goosebumps.  I feel like I’m standing in the ocean and waves are crashing over me.  Some people feel a deep sense of peace or joy.  I like that.  I like how encountering Jesus in this way changes me: my mind and ways of thinking, my heart and my emotions, my will and my obedience to God.  I’m not saying that I’m looking for an emotional experience.  I am saying that when I get before God and worship Him, no matter my emotions, my emotions change and I like that.  In fact, sometimes when I worship (almost every time these days) I can feel it in every pore in my being: something other than me, something Holy, transforming my life.

In my circles, we have all kinds of silly ways we talk about this.  We say God came to the meeting, when we know He was already there before us.  We say Heaven Opened, which seems a little more accurate.  We say we experienced His presence, which is probably the truest way of saying it.  We were walking about, doing our thing, putting together music and chairs and lights and Bibles and kleenex boxes and people and loving God and God became evident in a way we were not previously aware of.  I don’t know what happened, or why sometimes it is thicker or stronger than others, or why some people go all jelly kneed and others feel nothing.  I just don’t know.

And that’s where I keep hearing Sara’s song about “trying to bring you here.”  We have all sorts of wacky theories about how we can invite the presence of God.  Actually, they are nice sounding religious ideas.  I call them wacky because the truth is: God is God.  He goes where He pleases.  He does things how He likes.  He is bigger, stronger, wiser, and completely other than we are.  That is what Holy means: other.  He’s not like us.  He is a mystery.

There is nothing we can do to bring God here.

When we were dead in our misdeeds and sins, He decided to come.  He decided to sacrifice His life so that we could be with Him.  So that we could be like Him.

The same way we came into the Kingdom is the same way we live in the Kingdom.

We see His goodness.  We confess our lack.  We admit that there is no other way to be like him; no way but the cross.  We ask Him to come, forgive, transform, renew, and empower.  We fall into Him, knowing He will catch us.

And that’s just it.

In order to fall, we have to let go.

We don’t get to decide what it will look like when He catches us.  We only know that He will.  We wait.  We hope.  We let go.

There is no other way.

Sleep, glorious sleep!

It is in vain (pointless) that you rise up early
    and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil (stress);
    for he gives to his beloved sleep.  Psalm 127:2 (parentheses added)

The importance of sleep is a perennial theme for me.  Now that I’m working at a cognitive tutor (programs based on neuroscience), this theme is more important than ever.  We need sleep for our brains to reorganize and absorb all that we have challenged them with throughout the day.  Your brain is part of your body, and to function properly it needs adequate water, calories, nutrients, oxygen, and SLEEP!  Three things I am doing to help me get my beauty rest:

  • Getting proper nutrition and hydration in the morning and throughout the day, so that I’m not famished when night comes around.
  • Exercise.  Even a light walk every day.  Gym membership coming soon!
  • Cutting caffeine 12 hours before I want to be in bed.
  • Turning off the screens one hour before I want to be asleep.  I’ve heard upwards of three hours, but I’m starting with one and I’ll let you know how that goes.  The blue light from our electronic devices tricks our brains into thinking it’s daytime.  So, no more Pinterest right before bed.   The computer, iPad, and phone must go to rest before I do.  It’s back to paper books for me.
  • Some evenings, even when I’m alone in my house, I need to pull the curtain and effectively close the door to the world.

Finally, a note: there are many things that interrupt our sleep and our ability to sleep.  Many of them are out of our control, or take a long time to resolve.  I know how utterly helpless it can feel when you are doing everything right, and it still doesn’t work!  I suppose this is another area where we do the possible and trust God to do the rest.

In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
    for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8


Maybe it’s the rain in California.

Maybe it’s the peace Ms. Grace saw washing over me.

Although I was born in November, I have felt more like Janus, looking forward and looking back.  This year is different: I just want to dwell here, to tarry a little longer in my 34th year.  No looking back.  No need to know what’s next.  Just to be here.

Here is where the people are: the unusual, unexpected, and sometimes unruly people.  They live in the present, doing unusual, unexpected, and sometimes unruly things.  I want to be with them.  I want to be surprised.  You cannot laugh if you are not willing to be surprised.  You cannot live in the present if you are not willing to be surprised.

I want to be surprised.

In my circles, we like to hear from God.  Sometimes someone will get an insight into your life that only God could have shown them, and then they will share deeper insights He would want you to know.  We call them “words”, because there is a Bible verse that says, “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word from the mouth of God.”  I like to get words.  Of course I do.  I wanted to understand the past.  I wanted to know the future.  Words are a beautiful and helpful gift.  Lately I’ve been thinking: what if instead of revealing something about me in a word, God revealed some mystery about Himself?  What if a minister stood in front of me and said, “Beth, God loves you, and He wanted you to know that…” and then proceeded to unveil the mysteries of the stars and the universe.  Or the human mind.  Or the nature of love.  Or why He made giraffes so tall.  Or what he was thinking when He created eyes.  Nothing about me, all just about Him, because I wanted to know.  Wouldn’t that be fun?

Happy November.