Updated: Mar 1, 2022
I read this the other day. “God is not only stranger than we think, but stranger than we can think.” It is a strange world that we live in wouldn’t you agree? Twenty-five years ago, I would hear much older than I gurus of the faith who I respected comment on how they had come to hold loosely some of the hard-core doctrinal beliefs they once held about God. I thought it was a bit odd since my assumption was that the older you get the surer you become of everything related to faith and God. More surety, less faith even. Maybe that is true for some or perhaps it is one way or the other the older you become. For me, I’m one of those guys now twenty-five years down that road those gurus were on.
Three or four times a week I will end my day by taking a long soak in our backyard spa jacuzzi which I’ve been doing since we moved into our home sixteen years ago. I’ll slip into the hot tub in the darkness of night feeling the soothing sensation of my blood warming up and moving up through my brain. It’s like a euphoric drug in a way. I often sit alone in the quiet darkness of my backyard staring up into the sky and on the many clear nights I ponder the night sky and the universe in which we live.
I have the same thoughts repeatedly each time I sit and stare. I like it as quiet as possible, so I do not run the noisy water jets. I lean back and somewhat float just looking up and dwelling on the magnitude of our universe. Those are my favorite God moments. But I must admit that they are often God moments that cause me to reflect on how strange God is and how God must exist in totality? Where is he really? In what form? Is it even possible to think in those terms beyond my own ability to think deeply? I realize how impossible it is to know the answers that I’m dying (literally) to know. But alas, who can know?
I wish it were the case in Christendom that churchgoers were often led by their leaders to places of contemplation and wonder, even if doubt might creep in, allowing pew sitters to sit in wonder without answers but with bone piercing awe. I read this recently too, “Spiritually speaking, it does not help to give people quick conclusions before they have made any inner journeys.” We pride ourselves in discovering and teaching biblical truths to be learned and practiced with little regard for the letting go of learning and practice in order to spiritually float for a time in the deep pondering of that which cannot be fully known or practiced.
God is a mystery. I’ve come to love that most about God. Sure, we know enough about God through the bible and nature to have discovered the essence of God which is love. We’ve piled quite a bit of theology and doctrine on that knowable essence which has somewhat buried the simple truth of God’s enormous love under mounds of behavioral rites, rituals and rules. There will always be an inward polemic of soul and mind, the soul wanting to bath itself in mystery and wonder and the mind wanting all the answers and to know more. I might argue it is a healthy struggle in this life if one is willing to embrace the unknowable more so.
God is strange. Very strange. But in a good way. The definition of strange is “unusual or surprising in a way that is unsettling or hard to understand.” Yep. That is what runs through my mind when I sit staring into the vastness of our solar system. I have no problem saying to God in those moments, “God, you are so unusual and surprising to me. You unsettle me because you are hard to understand.” Because I believe God is love, I can sit with that and let it hang. Can you?