You probably played a game called Clue when you were a child. It’s the classic whodunit board game! Poor Mr. Buddy’s been murdered in his own mansion. Who could have done it? And how? And where? With six suspects, six possible murder weapons and nine rooms in the mansion, there are hundreds of possibilities, and plenty of clues to investigate. It’s a mystery every time you play.
Like the game, life is also a mystery with hundreds of possibilities. Each day is filled with unknown who’s, where’s, and how’s; and, the clues are hidden in the most surprising places.
You can plan and schedule and control outside influences, but you cannot eliminate surprise and mystery and that giant “unknown factor.” You can prepare and write contingency plans and procedures, but mystery will happen in spite of all your best efforts.
God places these unknown, mystery moments into life as calling cards. I think they are His favorites, wrapped in human skin. If our eyes are open, when we least expect it, He shows up in people and places.
My working definition of faith is trusting God to reveal a clue, a portion of himself, when we get out of control, over the top, and beyond what we think we know. And, it’s been my experience that these clues always leave fingerprints.
Hundreds of years ago, the game might have required a canoe or sailing vessel. The characters might have been explorers venturing into uncharted waters. Today, our faith pushes us to investigate relationships and ideas that take us beyond our senses, beyond the sights and sounds and smells. And yes, at times, we even journey beyond the limitations of time. God’s fingerprints become timeless, momentless.
In many ways, these clues leads us into a future where Jesus has already been; by faith we follow Him into the unknown with senses tuned to hear his voice, see his face, and feel his presence. Paul explains it this way:
“My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:2-3 NIV
Amy came to Kolkata, the city we used to call Calcutta, with a group of college students from the USA. They were on a mission trip organized by Heart to Heart International. As an adventurous young lady, Amy thought she was ready for what she she was about to see, but nothing could have prepared her for this.
You don’t have to search for poverty in Kolkata; it’s everywhere. “I was overwhelmed,” Amy began. “There was so much filth. Everywhere I went there seemed to be skin-and-bone children, flies, human waste in the streets, flies, the unrelenting smells of the city—-a mixture of death, feces, and rotten food, and more flies.”
But Amy say something else at Mother Teresa’s Home for the Dying Destitutes. It’s an elegant old building adjacent to the Kali Temple—one of India’s most sacred sites. Inside the building, nothing is elegant. The Home for the Dying Destitutes is a collection of dying people who have nowhere to go.
“I was in shock! One of the workers there suggested I feed the lady in Cot 17. She weighed about seventy pounds, had three teeth and paper-thin skin. The diaper she wore needed changing, and she babbled constantly in a language I couldn’t understand.”
This wasn’t in Amy’s plans, “I didn’t want to get near her; I could barely look at her. But, as I began to feed her small bites of rice, curry, and fish, she seemed to somehow move closer and closer to me. She ate very little, she wanted something else, she wanted to touch me.”
Amy continued, “As I held a cup of water to her lips, she pointed at her heart and then pointed at me. In that moment God opened my eyes. I experienced a whole new kind of love. I knew then I would do anything for this woman.”
“I said, ‘I love you,’ and as I did tears came pouring out of my eyes. I had just seen the face of God.”
Amy found more than a clue pointing to God, she found Jesus in the woman in Cot 17.
My friend Max Lucado puts it this way, “God doesn’t live in sequential moments, laid out on a time line, one following the other, his world is momentless.”
Your task, should you choose to accept it, is to live the adventure embedded in mystery. Look for Jesus in unexpected people every day this week. Begin each day with the prayer that God will put in your face, exactly the people He wants you to touch.
Then, do what is necessary to touch them.
By the way, leave the religious jargon and church language at home. Touching them doesn’t require “glory” phrases, it requires personal presence and loads of listening.
So, the game begins.