To me it is the most confounding of divine mysteries.
I can make lists all day long about what blocks people from faith in Christ, but I cannot come up with one convincing answer explaining the apparent randomness of who accepts Christ and who doesn’t.
For years I did not “get it.” Then one Sunday when I was 47 years old, sitting in a random church service, tears of awakening and conviction unexpectedly pooled in my eyes. I was awakened to how special Christ is, and convicted of how un-special I am. It’s trite, but true. I had been one smart, self-sufficient, well-traveled, intellectual and philosophical non-Jesus, non-church tour-de-force since my teen years. Those tears and their sincerity were as mysteriously random as it gets.
Other holy mysteries have more accessible explanations. Ask any priest, minister, pastor, elder or Sunday school teacher to define and defend the mystery of the Holy Trinity – one Almighty God in three distinct persons in eternal, unchanging yet somehow caring, creative community and love – and they can probably do it.
Ask why Jesus had to die on the cross to forgive our sins for the glory of God, and they can probably do it.
Ask why man and woman – Adam and Eve – stumbled so horribly in the Garden at the temptation of Satan to dishonor God and make the entire world – God’s entire Creation – fall into corruption, and they can probably do it.
Ask why we can believe the Bible, or why we should trust the Church, and they can probably do it.
It’s their job to explain that stuff.
But ask why some people come to Christ and some don’t, and sincere preachers will scratch their heads and say, “I wish I knew.”
John 3:16 says God sent Jesus, in love, to save us all, yet few find faith (Matthew 7:14) and, mysteriously, few are chosen (Matthew 22:14). So some get it, most don’t.
There are answers, of course, but they are as mysterious as the question. One is, “The Holy Spirit awakened in their soul.” Another is, “Because this soul is of the elect.” Yeah, but … why this soul, and not that soul?
Christians pray for family, friends, neighbors, the downtrodden and even our enemies to accept Christ, to share in the selfless love and unending faith of the Spirit of the New Covenant, joining the remembrance and communion of Christ in the family of God. Pleading for the unsaved – especially loved ones – can be the hardest part of Christian faith. With perseverance, we keep trying.
But still – why, and who, and when?
That’s a mystery.
Walters (email@example.com) believes a big key to faith is trusting God with the mysteries.