May16TueMay 16, 2017
Toddlers are fascinating creatures. For the first time in their life, they can pay attention to fine details and use their fingers to dig, tear, open and dissect. When their curiosity is peaked, they may stop at nothing until they have studied a new object or explored a new space to their satisfaction. (At this, this is the case for our twin boys.)
For most of us, this sense of curiosity continues into adulthood. When we are interested in something, we like to learn how it works or what’s involved in order to master it to our satisfaction – whether it be cooking, golf, auto mechanics, photography, etc. This, of course, is God-given and good. He created curiosity, desire, intellect, and skill for us to enjoy.
However, there are parts of our world which cannot be understood by dissecting and studying them. Beauty, love, integrity, and hope fall in this category. Author Paul Miller argues that we can describe, experience, and become aware when these are present. However, we really can’t define them completely. When we attempt to, they quickly lose their form or completely disappear. For example, if you try to capture the full beauty of a sunset with the latest technology, the image will still be lacking something. Or attempt to describe perfect love. Likely, your words will seem insufficient. There are some things in this world which are both tangible and mysterious. This is because they very closely reflect the Divine One who created them.
Our daily Scripture reading takes us to one of those subjects: Resurrection. In 1 Corinthians 15, the Apostle Paul responded to some believers who were starting to dismiss the resurrection of the dead. After making the argument that it’s foolish to proclaim Jesus but deny the resurrection, he began to describe what a resurrected body looks like. "There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies” (v40) “perishable bodies and imperishable bodies” (v42) and they are as different as the sun and moon. For those who trust in Jesus, your unique spirit will be wrapped up with imperishability and immortality (v54). That is what resurrection looks like.
Even though Paul was under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, those words seem very inadequate from what an eternal body will actually be like. Clearly, our human, written language can only describe glory up to a point.
The same is true with prayer. Prayer is a mysterious concept. The harder we work to “figure it out,” the more that we will distort it or miss it altogether. For those of you journeying through “A Praying Life” with your small group, you’ll enter these conversations soon. In case you are not connected, I encourage you to embrace the mystery of prayer and not spend too much time trying to understand how prayer works. Otherwise, we’ll do what the Apostle James advises us not to do – either ask with wrong motives or not ask at all (James 4:2-3)!
The most important part about prayer is that we pray. The Lord doesn’t want us to tear prayer into pieces. He wants us to ask and He wants us to know Him.
The more that we do this, the more that we’ll learn that prayer is just as beautiful and odd as the other indescribable absolutes that we already know. Let’s keep growing in prayer together - even if we’ll never fully comprehend its mystery.