There are many mysteries in the Bible, but it is not intended to be a mystical book. To me, “mystical” implies much secretiveness which only a few of the “enlightened” have knowledge of, and only they have the ability to unlock its doors. The clouds part, and the light shines in on them — and only them.
The Bible is a bit different. The Gospels reveal. Its Books are intended to give answers, not just raise more questions. The stories contained therein are grounded firmly in everyday, down-to-earth, meat and potatoes life. If you want to be mystified, it is not the book for your reading pleasure. When I am mystified I remain ignorant and perplexed and cannot be held responsible for anything. Correct? I’m just plain confused and can just go back to whatever I was doing. One might say, “I don’t want to be bothered. Please, don’t disturb me again.”
So, if you just want to be left alone, the Bible isn’t for you, either. However, God Himself might be knocking at your door. You should probably answer it. You see, it has been my experience and the experience of many other folks who have been born again, that a still small voice, quietly prodding in our consciousness, begins to raise matters of conscience and/or an awareness of an empty spot in our life, a mysterious yearning for something outside one’s current life, one’s state of being, one’s attempt to find fulfillment. We are prodded to seek answers.
The Gospel books show Jesus interacting with the community out in the open. His teaching was most often public discourse. He often spoke in parables to illustrate to those who wanted to know, to know, and to those who really just wanted to be left alone, to be left alone. People could choose to change their “fate,” or they could choose to ignore a chance to change their destiny.
Before His crucifixion, Jesus told His closest disciples He was “going away.” However, He promised another, like Himself, would come to be with them forever, teaching them and reminding them of everything He had been doing and saying. He was talking about the Holy Spirit. The same person of the Holy Spirit who “hovered over the waters” at Creation. Now He would specifically hover over born again Christians. This reminds me of the painting Jesus drew when He lamented over Jerusalem, “How often I would gather you like a hen gathers her chicks!”
(This reminds me of the story of the Smoke Jumper who found the charred carcass of a chicken. When he lifted it up, out popped a brood baby chicks!)
Jesus was about to endure a grand humiliation and a torturous death, giving His life so others could live — live on Earth in the newness of life as new creations of God and destined to obtain eternal life in a brand new Creation. Adoption and inheritance. An offer not wisely rejected. It is still a choice.
The Holy Spirit comes alongside us to guide us in this life and into the next. The Holy Spirit prods us to realize our need to repent, to come to the cross, accepting Jesus for our personal salvation. The path is for individuals in this way: to be baptized in water in the dunking that represents Jesus’ death and burial and the lift up out of the water, His resurrection. Then we are to follow on the path He sets before us, putting on the new person in truth and in right living.
An illustration from my own experience is when, after bumming around for years, I read the Scripture passage which says if a person refuses to work, he doesn’t get to eat. So, I knew as a man it was my responsibility to find a job to earn my keep. (I know I was extremely slow to grow up, having crashed and burned in adolescence. But that’s another story.)
The only work I could find was at a Temporary Labor outfit in downtown Buffalo. Every day I packed a lunch and took the bus downtown and hoping to get a ride to the assigned job site. The pay was horrible. The Temp service made as much as the workers they sent out. I wasn’t getting anywhere. Still living with my parents at my age was just plain wrong.
Anyways, one day on the bus, going downtown on Niagara Street, I noticed the Agway Seed Mill. Never having noticed it before, this time I couldn’t miss it. It was a white painted building, and now it appeared to me a dayglo white! And I heard that still, small voice saying, “Go there, and I’ll get you a job.” Hmmm. Okay! The next day, that’s where I got off the bus. The Mill Manager told me to go get a physical, and I was to start Monday.
So, this is how I see it: I was trying to follow the right path. I was a little rusty in the employee department. God gave me some practice in Temp labor. The Holy Spirit led me right to the doorstep of a real 40+ hour job (although seasonal). When the Mill moved out to farm country. I had to find a new job.
The Mill employees belonged to the Local Grain Millers Union. So, I went down to the Union Hall to find any job leads they might have. They sent me down to Rich Products, which, ironically, was just across the street from the Seed Mill. Same process… take the physical and start Monday. It was a 30 year stint which allowed me marriage, children, and house (in that order) and a short career as department Steward to Chief Steward to Union President/Business Agent. The self-inflicted disaster and termination of my employment that eventually happened is another story… But God had provided the opportunity.
God will lead by the Holy Spirit, but it’s still up to us to listen, to respond, and to follow.
Wash. Rinse. Repeat.