Certain things happen in life that are unmistakable indications of God sweeping through. Walk with Him a while, and you will collect a unique vocabulary of incidents which can be attributed to no one and nothing but the Almighty. You will know that you know He reached down from the throne room and tweaked the powers-that-be so that all the wildly bouncing marbles in the great pinball machine of life fell into exactly the right holes. Few things rival the ecstacy of knowing God has personally looked down and recalibrated the universe for little 'ole me. Try to explain this conviction to others, however, and you’ll sound sadly inane, if not completely deranged. Attempting to capture and convey the gossamer strands of divine intervention are too much for our grubby little hands. Secretly, we hoard these celestial touches like exquisite gemstones, because those moments are rare, precious and transformative.
Back in the 1960’s, something called the ‘View-master’ captivated us young ‘uns. It was a sturdy apparatus you put different cardboard slides into and clicked your way through like a slide show. Along the same lines, the powerful capabilities of our imagination, our mind’s eye, allow us to envision and hold in memory the wonderful workings of God. Despite the incredibly close brush with the Almighty we often experience in everyday life, He is still profoundly mysterious, inscrutable and unattainable on any significant cognitive level. He’s too vast for our intellectual capacities to grasp. He’s just too unfathomable to define, too multilayered to plumb and too elusive to locate. And yet…He’s always there; the very breath we breathe. He’s your utter intimate and your engulfing inscrutable; He’s the Magnificent Enigma.
Every now and again in Scripture, some bright boy manages to capture a glimmering, ephemeral insight into the nature of the Godhead. For an iridescent moment, a facet of the impenetrable Holy mystery flashes forth, illuminating us. Even Apostle Paul, who experienced third-heaven visitations and innumerable revelatory surges flounders to capture the sublime.
Who could ever wrap their minds around the riches of God, the depth of his wisdom, and the marvel of his perfect knowledge? Who could ever explain the wonder of his decisions or search out the mysterious way he carries out his plans? Romans 11:33 TPT
In the Old Testament, Jesus makes one of His rare pre-incarnate appearances in the person of ‘the Angel of the Lord’ (Judges 13). He comes to announce to a man of the tribe of Dan and his wife the birth of a son, a Nazarite; Samson. (A Nazarite is someone consecrated from the womb, so God’s visitation is required.) He came first to the woman, but her husband asked for confirmation. Manoah is full of fear and fussy little questionings, and the Lord’s patient indulgence throughout the encounter seems particularly marked. Finally, when Manoah gets impertinent enough to ask His name, Jesus replies “Why do you ask my name, seeing that it is wonderful?” (Judges 13:18). With infinite tenderness, He tacitly informs them “even if I tell you my name, you still won’t get it”.
For me, this story captures the complexity of what happens when the realm of the supernatural interfaces with the earth. Don’t be surprised at the utter disorientation you feel; the breathtaking sweep of awe, followed closely by puzzlement and perplexity. A shining moment of visitation is wrapped in the shroud of a riddle. Ensuing days unfold uncertainly as we walk through what seems both cryptic and critical, obvious and ambiguous, overt and yet secret. This is the realm of ‘wonderful’ and you are now inhabiting it. The Hebrew word ‘Pali’ denotes something secret, wonderful, incomprehensible: a sign and a wonder that is remarkable or extraordinary. It’s a big, big word heralding a significant event, and we’re never really ready for it. ‘Wonderful’ never looks quite like we think it will.
In the New Testament, Jesus continues expounding His name and character. He shocked even the disciples when He said “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” (John 14:7 NKJV) You’d think a statement like this would greatly streamline the mystery of the Godhead, but rather, it only intensified it. Enigma took on flesh, but instead of making things simpler, there was yet another layer of complexity. Jesus told them this in His final hours to the Cross, so their eyes would be open to the wonder even in the horrific. He was indirectly warning them not to trust what their senses would tell them, but to look to things unseen. He wasn’t done until the marvelous and joyful burst upon them again.
As we follow ‘The Wonderful One’, the Enigma unfolds. Christ is always the touchstone to the Trinity. Although we read the Word (and we should), to learn about God, unless we seek Him on a day to day basis, He does not become an experiential reality. We do not know Him. Intimacy is the gateway to the courts of God. Unless we open our hearts and receive our Savior, the Kingdom of Heaven is only a textbook lesson.
Time and again, when I’m wrestling with a theological tenet, or driven myself into a mental cul de sac of frustration trying to grasp a prophetic rhema, I have to remind myself that it’s not about the mind. Our intellect grapples to comprehend, but try though we will, these transcendent realities defy the natural brain. God confounds the academic egotists. He mocks at MENSA. He hides from the scholars to sport with the children. The Magnificent Engima surfaces only in the realm of the Spirit. With faith, I remember how the Lord has made Himself known to me in the past. I close my eyes and think about His tender touches. I pull out my Resume of the Miraculous and thumb sweetly through it again.
Cease striving and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10