I'm sure you played a game called Clue when you were a child. It's the classic whodunit board game! Poor Mr. Buddy's been murdered in his own mansion. Who could have done it? And how? And where? With six suspects, six possible murder weapons and nine rooms in the mansion, there are hundreds of possibilities, and plenty of clues to investigate!
It's a mystery every time you play. Like the game, life is also a mystery with hundreds of possibilities. Each day is filled with unknowns and hidden clues.
You can plan and schedule and control outside influences, but you cannot eliminate surprise and mystery and that giant "unknown factor." You can prepare and write out contingency plans and procedures, but mystery will happen in spite of all your best efforts.
God loves these unknown, mystery moments. He lives there. He encounters us there, because in these mystery moments, he has our attention, heart and soul. So, when we least expect it, he shows up.
My working definition of faith is trusting God to reveal a clue, a portion of himself, when we get out of control, over the top, and beyond what we think we know. And, he always leaves fingerprints.
Hundreds of years ago, the mystery might have required a canoe or sailing vessel. The character might have been explorers venturing into uncharted waters. Today, our faith pushes us to investigate ideas that take us beyond our senses, beyond the sights and sounds and smell. And yes, at times, we even journey beyond the limitations of time.
Faith leads us into a future where Jesus has already been; we follow into the unknown with eyes wide open and senses tuned to hear his voice, see his face, and touch his heart. Admitting we don't know what to do, what is next sets us up for divine encounters with the Creator.
My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:2-3 NIV).
Amy Morsch came to Kolkata, the city we used to call Calcutta, with a group of college students from the USA. They were on a mission trip organized by Heart to Heart International. Amy thought she was ready for what she was about to experience, but nothing could have prepared her; she was to be changed by the face of God.
You don't have to search for poverty in Kolkata; it's everywhere. "I was overwhelmed," Amy began. "There was so much filth. Everywhere I went there seemed to be skin-and-bone children, human waste in the streets, flies, and the unrelenting smells of the city — a mixture of death, feces, and rotten food."
"I was in shock! One of the workers there suggested I feed the lady in Cot 17," Amy explained. "She weighed about seventy pounds, had three teeth and paper-thin skin. The diaper she wore needed changing, and she babbled constantly in a language I couldn't understand."
This wasn't in Amy's plans, "I didn't want to get near her; I could barely look at her. But, as I began to feed her small bites of rice, curry, and fish, she seemed to somehow move closer and closer to me. She ate very little, she wanted something else, she wanted to touch me." Reliving that moment brought uncontrollable tears to Amy's eyes.
After a few seconds, Amy added, "As I held a cup of water to her lips, she pointed at her heart and then pointed at me. In that moment God opened my eyes. I experienced a whole new kind of love. I knew then I would do anything for this woman."
"I said, 'I love you,' and as I did, just like now, tears came pouring out of my eyes. I had just seen the face of God."
Jesus in the woman in Cot 17 forever changed Amy's faith.
My friend Max Lucado puts it this way, "God doesn't live in sequential moments, laid out on a time line, one following the other, his world is one moment, or, better stated, momentless."
Your task, should you choose to accept it, is to solve the mystery you face at this stage of life, your personal private mystery. Look for Jesus in unexpected people every day this week. Begin each day with the prayer that God will put in your face exactly the people he wants you to touch.
Then, do what is necessary to touch them.
By the way, touching them doesn't require religious phrases or holy sounds; but it does require conscious awareness and intention.
You can't touch someone in secret. You have to get out of yourself. Touching may be listening, returning a note, making a call, holding a hand, or taking a walk ... whatever it takes to see the face of God. It's a holy mystery.