Lent – Day 28 – Reflections Through Romans

“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” (Romans 11:33)

RomansSome time ago a friend said: “Be OK for God to know some things you don’t.

As a young man, it never occurred to me to make allowance for mystery. Everything should make sense. If God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (immutable) then He should be predictable. Read His Word. Work out His patterns and preferences. Voila! There you have it. A powerful God; nailed down and not so dangerous.

I never said it aloud (that I recall), but deep in my subconscious I believed that God works according to set formulae; much as the world does. If this, then that. Simple cause and effect.

However, the Apostle Paul wants nothing of such reductionism.

He will not constrain God to human expectations. He does not demand to know the mind of God. Instead, in a climaxing comment in Romans 11, Paul affirms the depths and unsearchable ways of God.

I suspect that as we eliminate mystery, we also minimize wonder and awe. Something happens to our faith when we reject mystery. Faith dries up. It expects little. It becomes dispassionate. Our hearts become gradually closed to spiritual surprises. We become skeptical of the unseen, and suspicious of the unexplained. “Awe and wonder” get usurped by “safety and certainty.”

A predictable God sounds like a safe God. But it backfires. Our safe God is no God at all. If I can predict His every move, I reduce Him to machinery. On the other hand, His transcendence — His “Otherness” — opens the door to mystery.

Annie Dillard’s suggestion that we should wear crash helmets to church and strap ourselves into the pews for safety, might be a touch extreme. However, we might ask, “Have we swung to the other extreme where we no longer expect God to show up?”

“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” (Romans 11:33)

It’s a glorious declaration!

It reminds us to allow for mystery, and to let God be greater than all of our explanations, expectations, and predictions. He is neither duplicitous nor hypocritical. He remains reliable, trustworthy, loving, and gracious always. But when we open our hearts to mystery, we start to rekindle awe and wonder. And faith changes.

May this Lenten day be wonder-filled for you.

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5 Responses to Lent – Day 28 – Reflections Through Romans

  1. Sam Sublett says:

    As always in all-ways “Fabulous Words of Wisdom”. God’s Word clearly explained by God’s very learned but humble Man.

  2. Love your thought that when we eliminate mystery we minimize wonder and awe That would be a pretty bland way to live! The mystery makes life with God an adventure.

  3. Dan Gonzaga says:

    Indeed!

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