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We cut these numerous windings in our destinies daily with our own hands, while we imagine that we are pursuing a track on the royal high road of respectability and duty, and then complain of those ways being so intricate and so dark. We stand bewildered before the mystery of our own making, and the riddles of life that we will not solve, and then accuse the great Sphinx of devouring us.
To abandon all, to strip one's self of all, in order to seek and follow Jesus Christ naked to Bethlehem where He was born, naked to the hall where He was scourged, and naked to Calvary where He died on the cross, is so great a mystery that neither the thing nor the knowledge of it, is given to any but through faith in the Son of God.
All writers on the science of policy are agreed, and they agree with experience, that all governments must frequently infringe the rules of justice to support themselves; that truth must give way to dissimulation, honesty to convenience, and humanity itself to the reigning of interest. The whole of this mystery of iniquity is called the reason of state.
These three witnesses are one, as John said: 'The water, the blood, and the Spirit' (I Jn. 5:8). One in the mystery, not in nature. The water, then, is a witness of burial, the blood is a witness of death, the Spirit is a witness of life. If, then, there be any grace in the water, it is not from the nature of water, but from the presence of the Holy Spirit.
We are never far from the lilt and swirl of living water. Whether to fish or swim or paddle, of only to stand and gaze, to glance as we cross a bridge, all of us are drawn to rivers, all of us happily submit to their spell. We need their familiar mystery. We need their fluent lives interflowing with our own.
When you embrace the mystery and open yourself to it, a new life is created, resistant to the old problems. You will notice at times that the new life isn't what you asked for. But asking for specific items or for particular events to occur isn't how I define prayer. I cannot guarantee that the orders you place with God will always be filled. Prayer is not a test of God, but a call for help to find your inner strength and talent.
Isaiah 55 provides an entirely different framework for thinking about God's justice, because it suggests that we have it backward - the mystery lies not in God's unfathomable wrath but in his unfathomable mercy. God's ways are higher than our ways because his capacity to love is infinitely greater than our own. Despite all that we do to alienate ourselves from God, all that we do to insult and disobey, God abundantly pardons again and again.