Discernment: It's an Embrace of Mystery

Shadows on wall.

As I shared in a previous post in this discernment series, we often think of discernment as finding an answer to our question of choosing option A, B, or C for our lives in a particular moment. But really, it’s about something of a much greater scope.

It’s about the wholistic work God is doing in our lives — our lives seen in their totality, from beginning to end — as he seeks to conform us more and more into the people we actually are and the image of God we were created to bear. 

This means there is quite an element of mystery to embrace when we’re about discernment. 

Think of it this way.

Even when we wait and look and listen and discern the invitation of God in our lives toward a particular decision, we don’t know what will happen once that decision has been made. We may discern that, yes, we are going to accept that job offer — but even if we ascertain that job offer to be the next stone on our pathway forward, we don’t fully comprehend why. 

We only know that God is nudging us toward it. It aligns with the wholistic work he’s been about in our lives. It’s clearly the right choice for us at this point in our story. 

But toward what end? Not simply for the job itself, but toward the end of it being used to further our formation. 

The decision was not a destination but part of a larger process — a process we cannot fully perceive or apprehend and never will. It exists in the mind of God. 

Our part is to discern and follow, and in that sense, to be part of a great mystery that’s beyond us.

This morning, I read a short string of words in Psalm 40 that reminded me of just this truth: 

More and more people are seeing this: 

they enter the mystery,

abandoning themselves to God.

— Psalm 40:3

Life with God teems with mystery. He is so much greater than we are, and he is intimately acquainted with our life and ways and story. He knows the work he is about in us, and we see that work but dimly, simply following the next stone on the path.

Will you accept the holy mystery of this life with God, the invitation to something greater than your eyes alone can see about your life?