There are times when I misplace my phone. So, I immediately conduct a search where it should be, or where I typically leave it: on the couch, in my purse, charged next to my bed, or maybe in the hands of my toddlers. After relentlessly checking and re-checking those locations, only to find nothing, I feel the frustration start to rise. I give up on that main search and now, I look everywhere. That’s when I find it. In a place where it should not be…lying right in front of me on the kitchen table.
The Mystery of God and Extreme Love
There is a misconception that God can always be found when we want him to be and where we expect him to be. It’s when we give up our ideas about where he is and how exactly he is to be found, we actually find him (Galli, 2009). Yes, God is near. And to love God, we must be willing to embrace the elusive characteristic of God (Galli, 2009). This mystery of God is what draws us into this extreme love. May we never lose our wonder toward him.
“While God clearly is about the business of giving us glimpses of himself, he is also clearly in the business of hiding himself. Only when we accept the ultimate mystery of God can we know and love him.”Mark Galli, from A Great and Terrible Love: A Spiritual Journey into the Attributes of God
A hidden treasure
Scripture references God’s hiddenness often. Jesus says in Matthew 13:44, “The Kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field.” I can hear the excitement of the Apostle Paul saying in Romans 11:33, “Oh, the depths of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!” The prophet Isaiah lets us know, “Truly, you are a God who hides himself, O God and Saviour of Israel.”
But why does God hide himself? As humans, we like to rationalize and make sense of everything. Yet, God cannot fit into a box. He cannot fit our ideas. God answers prayers but he is no genie. God is near, but he comes when He wants to. As theologian Vladimir Losski says, “It is by unknowing that one may know him.”
“It is by unknowing that one may know him.”Vladimir Losski
Never lose our wonder in marriage
One of the ways God can teach us this extreme love is through the institution of marriage. If you’re married, when you first started courting each other, the curiosity for one another during this time is what drew you closer and more in love with one another. It’s unfortunate in some marriages that the curiosity and mystery ceases because through time, spouses put each other in a box. Sadly, it can lead to this common saying, “I fell out of love.” Popular culture completely misunderstands that love must be acquired and learned again and again.
“Christian love must be chased after, aspired to, and practiced.”Gary Thomas, from A Sacred Marriage
Its the mystery of God and of our spouses that can move us toward deeper intimacy with them. We should never stop pursuing! We should never lose our wonder. Dan Allender stated, “Marriage requires a radical commitment to love our spouses as they are, while longing for them to become what they are not yet.” This extreme love and commitment is the constant pursuit, even when it is difficult.
My prayer for you and I is that we do not see the mystery of God as a puzzle to be solved but an opportunity to move towards him in wonder and awe. I pray that we continue to pursue our spouses and be curious about who they are. “We show our love for God in part by loving our spouses well. And we love our spouses by loving God. (Gary Thomas)”