My breath made clouds in the early morning light as I ran along the seawall, my mind wandering back to the month I recently spent pondering the mystery of Christ in us. I felt I understood less at the end than when I began—not, I think, because my understanding had decreased, but because I’d freshly glimpsed how great the mystery is.
I slowed to a walk as a woman approached, her unleashed dog close at her side. The dog’s loving eyes were attentive to her every move. A slight point of her hand toward a crow on a huge fallen trunk and the dog saw and leapt and ran, wholly intent on pursuit. The crow flew and the dog raced and then, moments later, returned, panting, to his mistress’s side. My eyes met the woman’s and we shared a smile at the dog’s joy in the chase. I pictured God smiling too at the start of my month of pursuing mystery, a tilt of His hand gently directing my attention toward it, knowing I’d delight to chase it, happy for me to be free, to run, to play, to explore, my whole self alive and engaged in the pursuit for moments, days even, then, panting, the mystery having flown, returning to my Master’s side, eyes on His face, His hand, grateful once again that I don’t have to comprehend the mystery to live it.
I’m glad I couldn’t pin down the mystery, glad it’s still out there, wild and free. Glad I can chase it again, and know it will once again escape my full (small!) understanding.
In the process of the chase, my prayer has shifted. Oh, I still ask, “Help me to understand,” but alongside that prayer is another, more intent on knowing God than on understanding Him: “As You lead me into all truth, guard me from ever thinking I’ve got You figured out. If I ever think I’ve got You under my paw, it’s certainly not the true God I’ve apprehended.”