Encountering the Mystery

Stan Mast

READ : Job 23:1-10

If I go to the east, he is not there . . . I do not find him. . . . I do not see him. (vv. 8-9 NIV)

Some doubt rises from our encounter with the mystery that is God. In Luke 24, the disciples’ doubt was a reaction to the fact that God had done something that could not be done. Death is final, but here was Jesus alive and well. That should have moved them to faith, but it was so mysterious that they doubted.

Much God-related doubt rises from exactly the opposite experience of the mystery of God. Let me paraphrase Job’s experience: “If I go to the east or the west or the north or the south, I can’t find God anywhere.” God’s ways are often so darkly mysterious that doubts arise about God’s mercy and goodness.

Some people say such doubt is the necessary response of finite mortals to an infinite God. Likewise, a truly humble and open-minded person will not only have doubts but consider them, as Val Webb puts it, “tantalizing carrots enticing us into new territory” of faith (In Defence of Doubt). Sounds right, but does Jesus really encourage doubt as a healthy thing? The mystery of God had moved the disciples to doubt, but that’s not where Jesus wanted them to be.

The Bible is full of humility, awe, and questions in the face of mystery. But doubt? Jesus presents himself and his appetite as evidence to the contrary (Luke 24:39, 42-43) Why? To remove their doubt.

PRAYER

O God, lead me through the mystery until my faith is pure gold. Amen.