A Name No One Knows

I love a good mystery. I used to want to be a spy. Then I watched Alias… Being a spy may not actually be my thing. I’ve moved on to detective. That I think I would enjoy. I want to solve cold cases and find kidnapping victims and put together the pieces of the puzzle to crack the conspiracy.

But alas. I do not have the training. Nor the gadgets. Unless there’s an app for that now.

Suffice it to say, I’m wired to set about figuring things out. I want to know secrets. I want to know why people do the things that they do. I want to understand the way things and people work. And, so, naturally, I want to know how God works. I want to figure Him out and present Him in a way that is understandable and rational.

God delights to be known. He reveals Himself to us in new and intimate ways all the time. I think He relishes in the fact that we want to understand Him, that we want to know Him more, that we search for Him and for His ways. I think He places that desire in each of us. It looks different in each of our lives, and we go about it differently, but on some level, most of us are seeking to know and understand Him more.

And there is a place for that. There is a place for Bible study and reading other peoples’ thoughts and trying to decide what it is that we believe and what it is that God is about. There is a place for learning and for teaching.

But there is a danger inherent in it, too.

We can find ourselves running so hard after information that we forget we are seeking a real Person. We can miss God in our searching for knowledge about Him. We can run ourselves ragged and wear ourselves out and never encounter the very One who delights to be found.

I know it’s possible because I’ve done it. I have approached God like a code to crack instead of like a Friend. I have tried to solve Him instead of to enjoy Him. I have gotten stuck in the mire of study and forgotten the joy of discovery. And I have come to the conclusion that the most dangerous lie we could believe about God is that we could somehow have Him all figured out.

At the time of Jesus’ still-future return to earth, Revelation 19:12 says that “He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself.” Jesus has a name that not one soul knows.

Oh the mystery! No, we do not have Him figured out. Nor would we want to.

But the beauty of God is that He invites us into both the mystery and the discovery. He invites us to seek Him first. He invites us to engage Him as Savior and Healer and Lord and Father and Friend. He reveals Himself as each of those things, and as we encounter Him more and more, we learn things about His character and His presence that were always true but that we didn’t always know.

What joy is it when we have heard that He is Healer, believed that He is Healer, but suddenly we awaken healed? Now, we really know Him as Healer. What peace does it bring when the One we’ve read is Prince of Peace suddenly washes us in a calm that we didn’t know we could expect to be so tangible? Now, we really know Him as the Prince of Peace. When the Father’s hand steadies our trembling ones… When the Master lays out our steps… When the Savior pronounces us clean… There is a world of difference between theory and experience. And our God knows that. And He shows Himself faithful. Over and over again.

In a way only God can do, He invites us right into the mystery. He lets us search Him out, and He winks playfully as we discover something in His Word that He placed there to watch us find. Our God watches us find His plans and His ways, and it brings Him great joy. But He wants to be a part of it. He is, after all, the great Revealer of all things good.

We can open our Bibles and play detective, confident that our Faithful Father will reveal what we need to find and graciously conceal what it is not yet time for us to discover. We can seek Him boldly and search out His ways. We can celebrate with Him when we come to understand something that we hadn’t before. But let’s not fall for the dangerous lie that we will ever have Him figured out. Let’s not even entertain the thought that that was ever the real goal.

Let’s stop fearing the mystery.

Jesus has a Name that no one has yet breathed.

And that is precisely the way He intended it.

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