I have always loved mysteries. As a child, I read many of the Nancy Drew books and tried to solve the cases along with Nancy. Some of my favorite authors are mystery writers and I also enjoy many TV mystery series (like Alias, Elementary, Sherlock, and Psych). I think part of why I went into medicine was the mystery-solving. I have found figuring out a patient’s problem and offering a solution to be very rewarding. Rick reminded me as I was writing this of the time I diagnosed a the mystery of a chronic cough in a little boy in Jordan. He had started coughing out of the blue and no matter what medications his doctor gave him for cough and asthma, the cough would not go away. I didn’t order x-rays very often there but decided this boy needed one. It turns out, he had inhaled the tiny spring of a ballpoint pen and it was stuck in one of his his main bronchial tubes, causing irritation and cough. Mystery solved!
The desire to solve mysteries seems to be part of our human nature. We don’t like unanswered questions and unresolved conflicts. When we are given a problem or puzzle, we feel the urge to solve it. “Aren’t we always asking about the meaning of life or wondering what happens after death? Reading a mystery novel might be one way we can satisfy our curiosity; instead of asking what’s the meaning of life, we ask who did it and why? We find a bit of closure by reading mysteries and having the crime neatly solved. (The Mystery Novel: Our Fascination with Mysteries, Detectives, and Crimes, S.A. Takac)
Life itself is mysterious. As kids we wonder: what college will I attend? who will I marry? How many kids will we have? Where will we live? How long will I live? Today offers clues about tomorrow but nothing is certain. Some of us prefer to play it safe and not take risks. Others of us venture out of our comfort zones, take chances, and enjoy the thrill of uncertainty. But I think most would agree that we like to be able to get answers and have our mysteries solved. We don’t want to end at a “cliff hanger”.
The writers of the Bible talk about mystery too. The Old Testament gives prophecies about the Messiah and offers clues as to what God’s plan for the world is. It is not until Jesus Christ arrives on the scene that the solution to God’s mystery is revealed.
This mystery has been kept in the dark for a long time, but now it’s out in the open. God wanted everyone, not just Jews, to know this rich and glorious secret inside and out, regardless of their background, regardless of their religious standing. The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you, so therefore you can look forward to sharing in God’s glory. It’s that simple. That is the substance of our Message. We preach Christ, warning people not to add to the Message…I want you woven into a tapestry of love, in touch with everything there is to know of God. Then you will have minds confident and at rest, focused on Christ, God’s great mystery. All the richest treasures of wisdom and knowledge are embedded in that mystery and nowhere else. And we’ve been shown the mystery! (Colossians 1:26-2:3, The Message)
And yet “penetrating the mystery is like discovering galaxies; there is always more…the mystery always contains more mysteries” (Ann Voskamp). The more I get to know Jesus, the more I realize I don’t know, and the more I want to know Him more. Remember, I love mysteries!
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror;then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:12)