April 5

“Thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons.” 2 Kings 4:4

They were to be alone with God, for they were not dealing with the laws of nature, nor human government, nor the church, nor the priesthood, nor even with the great prophet of God, but they must needs be isolated from all creatures, from all leaning circumstances, from all props of human reason, and swung off, as it were, into the vast blue inter-stellar space, hanging on God alone, in touch with the fountain of miracles. Here is a part in the programme of God’s dealings, a secret chamber of isolation in prayer and faith which every soul must enter that is very fruitful.

There are times and places where God will form a mysterious wall around us, and cut away all props, and all the ordinary ways of doing things, and shut us up to something Divine, which is utterly new and unexpected, something that old circumstances do not fit into, where we do not know just what will happen, where God is cutting the cloth of our lives on a new pattern, where He makes us look to Himself.

Most religious people live in a sort of treadmill life, where they can calculate almost everything that will happen, but the souls that God leads out into immediate and special dealings, He shuts in where all they know is that God has hold of them, and is dealing with them, and their expectation is from Him alone. . . . In the sorest trials God often makes the sweetest discoveries of Himself. (Streams in the Desert)

An inevitable element of mystery surrounds Almighty God and His affairs with man. A veil hangs between the eternal and the temporal. Eventually we will pass beyond the curtain and all mysteries will melt away like snow in a Spring thaw, but until then we stumble awkwardly along through the frigid slush of doubt and worry, fear and disillusionment. Faith is the necessary companion for mystery. Confidence that our Sovereign knows the future frees me to explore divine mystery. Like following clues in a whodunnit, we examine mundane moments and detect mercy; we search for a pattern in our complicated lives and recognize Providence at work. Conviction that there is more to life than meets the eye bolsters courage to face the commonplace. Mystery strengthens faith when our hearts are aligned with Heaven.

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