The Mystery Element

As is common for me I’m delving into a subject that is controversial and where there are many different opinions.  Which, differing opinions are ok, as long as I can still express mine.

I want to talk about the ‘Mystery Element’.  This is just a term I’m using to describe those things in life that simply don’t make sense, or we don’t understand.  And there are more of these things than we would like to admit.

Let me give you a few.  How did Harry Truman end up being President?  If we really look at his career he was hardly the man for the job.  He got to the U.S. Senate primarily through the backing of a corrupt Missouri businessman and politician.  While in the Senate he had mostly an unspectacular showing.  But, in 1944 Roosevelt (FDR) is running for an unprecedented 4th term as President, and they (Democratic party) were seeking someone to plug in as Vice President.  Wallace, the sitting VP during the past term, was out of favor, and someone was needed who wouldn’t be too far left, too far right, or too Catholic, or what ever.  Truman was selected because he was the ‘safe’ pick.  We will simply plug him in as VP, win the election, and stick him in the closet for the rest of the term until 1948.  Uh, that is, until Roosevelt died only three months after taking the oath.  Now, the backwoods, failed haberdasher, rookie from Missouri is now President of the United States, who, at that time, was still engaged in a World War raging in Europe and the Pacific.

But, that’s not the only example.  There are many, many others that defy any attempt to rationalize or make sense of.  Of course, that doesn’t stop folks from trying.  They will attempt to apply superstition, luck, or what have you in an attempt to explain these things.  But, when it all gets sifted down the real explanation is ‘we simply don’t know.’

Which, is why I call it the Mystery Factor.  Now, understand, it is a mystery to us, but not to God.  The things that we call luck, or mystery, or chance, is anything but that to God.  When Einstein was asked about the uncertainty principle of atomic physics, his reply was, “I don’t believe God plays with dice.”  In other words, things may be chance or uncertain to us, but not to God.

Of course, it’s easy to say, “Truman was President because of God’s will.”  And that may well be true, but it doesn’t help us to understand it, does it?  I suppose we could put all mysteries in that category and be done with it.  I’m just not certain it is that pat, however.

When all is completed and we are on the other side I suspect we will find that very little was left to luck or chance.  While it may appear lucky or chance to us, I suspect it is not to God.  Was it chance that Jesus, as a baby, was narrowly rescued from being killed by Herod?  No.  Was it chance that John the Baptist began his ministry, shortly before Jesus began His?  No.  Was it chance He was crucified at Passover time?  No.  In fact, we might say there was little, if any, chance or luck that drove Jesus from cradle to the cross.

Of course, we make choices, and those choices have outcomes.  But, here’s the catch – very few of us can foresee what those choices will bring 5 years, 10 years, or 50 years from now.

In 2000, me and my wife bought our first house.  I signed a 30 year mortgage.  Is there any way possible for me to know how my life will go for the next 30 years?  No.  Is it all left to chance or luck? No.  Is it all skill and determination? No.  The fact is none of us can peer into the future.  Except for those who put their saving faith in Christ and His Word we cannot look beyond the grave, either, and know with any certainty what awaits us.

Of course, we can tell some things.  We know if we are trending badly, or trending well.  But, even those indicators can change at a moment’s notice, just ask Job.

Now we come to the heart of this post.  Rather than attempting to explain everything, wouldn’t it be best just to recognize there are some things that simply cannot be explained or reasoned out.  While we may call those things chance or luck, there seems to be something even there that doesn’t ring true.

Maybe that’s why Jesus compressed down the 10 commandments to just 2.  We had some difficulty following 10, so he tried to ease the burden by telling us of just 2.  Love God, and love your neighbor.  Pretty simple.  No uncertainty, no mystery.  So, while we may ponder those imponderable things that happen in life, the primary things we need to remember are pretty basic and simple.

One Response to “The Mystery Element”

  1. Barbara McGuire Says:

    Great post and much to ponder! Love your writings…..

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