Little Red Box and a Magical Mystery.

Life is full of mysteries. Why is music a universal human language? Why are snowflakes so beautiful? And why do people watch reality TV? Life without mystery would be dull.

Walking in the woods I came across a red plastic container (in the picture). Shaped like a charity collection box, it resolutely refused to reveal its purpose. No writing adorned its casing, and no gaps allowed exploration of its interior. The puzzle persists.

The purpose of the mystery, at least for me, is the continued sense of curiosity. As you can see, I am still thinking about it some two or three weeks  later. Is that part of the purpose of the puzzles in life that God leaves unresolved? It may be that “Why?” is the most important word. Parents tire of hearing young children ask it, but without the question nothing is learned.

Psalm 42 is a ‘why?’ Psalm. 

“Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.” (Psalms 42:5)

“I say to God my Rock,
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?”” (Psalms 42:9)

“Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.” (Psalms 42:11 NIV11-GK)

The mystery is troubling. There is no specific answer as to why the writer is downcast and disturbed. Nor is there a solution to the feelings of abandonment and suffering. Yet this musician is taken on a journey of remembrance by his troubles. He recalls previous times of joyful worship, and reflects on God’s patient love for him. As the mystery deepens so does his respect for God. In the moments of mystery he is taken back to his need for a relationship with his creator. There is something about mystery that connects us with the divine.

In this life not all questions will be answered. But in the next they will not need to be. In the meantime, enjoy the curiosity they create. I must go back and have another look at that red box…..!

Malcolm Cox

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