This week we embrace the darkness. This week we will do our best to let go of our fear of the unknown. This week we will try to learn what it is to rest in the tension of the mystery.
We can never fully figure out everything in the universe. We can never fully understand God, who created all of this which we see around us. Unfortunately, these two facts have been used to discourage seeking and discovery and questioning for a long time. I believe God wants us to constantly be seeking and digging and questioning. So if that is my belief, how can I possibly say for us to learn to rest in the tension of the mystery?
I would say there are levels to uncertainty. There is one level which can inspire awe and questioning and desire and passion, then there is the level upon which fear and anxiety and stress come from. These levels differ for everyone. The level of uncertainty which inspires fear and anxiety and stress may or may not be healthy for you. This is something you need to discover for yourself. I am not going to say where I believe uncertainty leading to stress and fear is unhealthy because it can indeed be different for all of us. The one thing I will say is that anything that inspires fear, stress, anxiety or dread within us deserves further examination as to why it inspires those emotions.
Now, for the other level of uncertainty, it is quite possible that even questioning our religion or our worldviews could cause fear and anxiety. My question would be, “why should it?” Religion, philosophical understandings of the world and various views on those things have been evolving since the beginning of time. Even in the Bible we see an evolving perspective on who God is. Never in the Bible did anyone discourage people from digging deeper to understand God. I believe the reason is that they knew that God was big enough to handle our questions.
If God is real, and I believe He is, then there is no question we cannot ask, there is no thought we cannot think. God is all in all, and He is present in the darkness. Here we find something else that has inhibited our searching. Traditionally, we have understood darkness to be something bad, evil or frightening. I would say darkness is something we can embrace. If we begin to see darkness as the presence of mystery, then in the darkness we can begin to seek out the greatest mystery we have ever known, the face of the Divine.
I love the boldness of Moses, “show me your glory!” I resonate with that. I want to know God. I want to see God. I want to experience God. I have grown sick of the recipes for these things however. I no longer experience or learn much about God in church. Don’t get me wrong, I love church. I love meeting people and singing songs with my friends and I love teaching whenever that opportunity presents itself. But I think, just personally, I am in a place where I learn much better through reading than through listening to sermons. I also seem to experience God much more when I am with the oppressed, the castaway, the poor.
I seem to experience God in the places where I often find myself asking, “God where are you?!” I wonder if the finding is in the question. When we find ourselves wondering where God is in this situation or that place, if we look, that is when we will find the face of the Divine.
So here I am in the midst of a blog about uncertainty, trying to tell you where you will find God. Isn’t this always how it goes? We start off wanting to embrace the mystery, and we wind up creating a formula so others don’t have to. My instinct is to erase everything I’ve written above and start over, but I’m not going to. I’m going to leave it there because I believe this is a great example in what comes natural to us. Sometimes the hardest thing about embracing the mystery on our own journey is embracing where our friends and family are on their journeys. Sure we want to offer resources and help to our friends as they search through the darkness. But we must also be patient. Never write someone off because of where they are in their journey. Embrace everyone’s darkness.
There is so much uncertainty in our world; it is only natural for us to try and make the uncertain certain. That is not a bad thing. However, we must learn to be ok with the tension as we search. We must learn to be ok with the tension in others as they search through their own darkness. Things may not be as any of us think they are. We may get to the end of our lives and find we are radically wrong about a great number of things. If certainty is what we need then we have problems. Embrace uncertainty friends, even as we press on for answers.