From Mystery to Clarity: Understanding the Language of Heaven.
The Duck Mystery
I have hundreds of ducks and geese that live in my back yard. Some of them are domestic ducks that I purchased to populate our small pond. Several years ago I wanted to move one of them to another pond about a mile away. I captured it and placed it in a closed box in my car and drove him to his new home.
After release from the box, the white duck was surprised and puzzled at his new home, but seemed to adjust fine. I had some work to do and would periodically look across the field to check on my new tenant. After an hour of work, I glanced up to check on his progress. I couldn’t see him and became alarmed. Thinking a fox or large turtle might have consumed him, I investigated closer, but the duck had disappeared. I searched all over the property; lamenting over my lost duck and the $15 it cost me!
I finished my work in the field and returned home. I shared the mystery with my wife, poured a large glass of ice tea and headed to my back deck to relax. The prodigal white duck was sitting by my lawn chair! It appeared to be angry at me. He had walked (he’s too fat to fly) across roads, over a stream and through fields for one mile and found his way back home! I’d heard stories like this before, but had never personally experienced it. It was and is a mystery.
"God uses mystery to draw you closer to him."
My children are all grown now, but I remember when as children they wanted to play “hide and seek.” They would put their little hands over their eyes and begin counting. Quickly, I made my way to a place that would be easy to discover. Typically, I hid behind the window curtains with my feet sticking out at the bottom. In mere moments the little kids would scream with glee and hug the daddy-shaped image in the curtain.
Loving fathers hide...but not very well. We want to be found! It’s a mystery, but not a difficult one. Anyone can play and everyone can win! God is a loving father and does the same thing.
Consider this following scripture passage in Deuteronomy 30:11 “For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off...14 But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it. “
God’s mysteries are meant to be solved, to reveal His strategies and tactics. He does not hide them far and invites us to participate using terms like “seek, ask, and knock.”
TRUSTING THE FATHER
My father used to play a similar game with me. He had a large, old-fashioned jug sitting inside our front door. When he came home from work each day, he would empty the change out of his pocket into the jug. When vacation time would come, we would empty it; count it and use it for something fun.
I worked my first real job when I was about sixteen. I came home one day with my first paycheck. My father must have tuned into my excitement about having cash in my wallet. He looked at me and said, “How much money do you have in your wallet?” I wasn’t totally sure, but said, “About thirty dollars.” He then said, “I’ll give you everything in that jug for everything in your wallet.” This was not uncommon. It was his way of training me to take risks and make quick decisions. Could it be that if we have a desire to understand, we might solve the mysteries of life?
I asked him if I could lift the jug, because I couldn’t remember when we had emptied it last and how much money it might contain. He declined. I had to take a risk, and I had to make the decision quickly. He told me that the offer was running out fast. I looked at the jug and into his eyes, back to the jug and responded, “You’ve got a deal.”
"A loving God will not trick you."
I handed him the thirty dollars and ran to empty the jug. As I counted the change, my quick estimate was confirmed; I had made a good deal. The jug contained over one hundred and twenty five dollars.
Do you know why I made the deal? My father loved me and I knew it! I knew that he would never trick me into making an offer that wouldn’t work for my benefit. That was one of many deals we made over the years. His love empowered me to take risks. He made it easy for me to solve the dilemma, because he loved me. A loving God will not trick you, either. He will train you to do great exploits. (Daniel 11: 32:b)
ENROLL IN THE SCHOOL OF INTERPRETATION
In order to train you, He will take you to His school of interpretation so that you may understand His purpose for you. Do not back off in discouragement at dreams or circumstances that do not make sense. Rather, understand that God is inviting you into a life of discovery where He will help you solve the mystery. If you choose to enroll, your life will include divine epiphanies and glorious revelation.
God apparently loves to tantalize us with mystery. I search this out in my recent book, VOICES: UNDERSTANDING AND RESPONDING TO THE LANGUAGE OF HEAVEN. In chapter one, I tell the story of my son at the age of two. He was a typical toddler, full of energy and eager to play. Many times, I’d come home from work, just wanting to relax. He, though, was eager to play; and he wanted to get me off of the sofa. I’d lie there and call to him to come and give me a hug.
He would reply coyly, “No!”
Being the lazy man I am, I developed ways to draw him to come to me. I would call across the room and say, “Josh, come seg moy yum.”
Repeating this nonsensical statement over and over again would make him curious. He would move slowly closer, studying my lips, trying to understand what his dad was saying until he would be standing right in front of me. Unaware that he had been lured into my trap through a mystery, he became easy prey for tickling!
God uses mystery to draw you closer to Him so that He can reveal His purpose to you. Have you ever heard a sound from heaven that said something like, “Come seg moy yum?” Pay the price to seek the meaning.
DO YOU HAVE THE DESIRE?
Moses had been living in the wilderness for forty years when a voice coming from a burning bush turned his life upside down. The Bible says that he saw the burning bush and “turned aside to see the great sight.”
The text then says, “When the Lord saw that he turned aside to look...God called to him.” (Ex. 3:3-4) In this case, a simple “turning aside,” provided a doorway to revelation. Moses solved the mystery of a burning bush by simply taking a moment and reflecting. God saw it and revealed Himself to Moses.
"Will you take time to listen?
Could it be that if we have a desire to understand, we might solve the mysteries of life? Many of us are frustrated and say, “If God really wanted me to do this, He would be clear.” A simple look at the gospels clearly shows that much of the time the disciples were confused as to Jesus’ intentions. Phrases like, “And they knew not what He meant,” occur often.
Jesus began to build curiosity regarding the next phase of God’s unfolding plan with a cryptic communication regarding His leaving and the Holy Spirit’s coming. (Luke 24:49) By the time the events of Acts 2 occurred, Jesus was gone and they were waiting patiently for the revelation of a mystery. One hundred and twenty people were sequestered in an upper room, excited, unified and probably very curious. The Holy Spirit came in power with accompanying unusual manifestations, which included flames of fire and apparent drunkenness with a new ability to communicate in seventeen different languages! The age of His Kingdom began with the dramatic revelation of a mystery.
THE TWO QUESTIONS
On this historic day, the observers asked two major questions, “What does this mean?” and “What must we do?” These will always be the two mysteries the church must solve. These are the same questions that people have today about every mystery in life. The degree to which the church is able to answer these questions is the degree of influence it will have in society. The questions demand wisdom, but at a deeper level they call for a prophetic people. The people that hear from God will rule the day.
In the plot of the movie, “Evan Almighty,” a recently elected congressman receives a Noah-like call for the 21st century. As God challenges Evan to delve deeper into God’s will for his life, the viewer realizes the contemporary challenge of serving God when society doesn’t understand. As I watched the movie, I had to ask myself if I would risk it all to implement the interpretation of God’s communication into my circumstances.
How about you? Will you take the time to listen, turn aside and respond to the voice of heaven? How you answer that question will determine your destiny. Solving complex mysteries will take more time, demanding a level of wisdom like that of Solomon. Isn’t it a relief that we serve the God of Solomon?
How will we cope with extreme mysteries? When the church of Corinth had a question about exercising the gift of tongues, Paul answered by telling them to pray for the interpretation of the mystery (Explore 1 Corinthians 14:2, 10-11, 13).
Mysteries need interpretation. Unlocking a mystery requires our desire to seek the interpretation. We are learning to interpret God’s mysteries in the same way someone interprets a foreign language. We must learn the language before we can interpret it to others.
Paul is saying that a life of intimacy with God where you learn the language He speaks will cause you to unravel the mystery. Give yourself to understanding His language.
LEARNING THE LANGUAGE OF HEAVEN
The first element in learning any language is motivation. Whether it’s French, Spanish or Heaven, you must have a deep desire to understand it. Being equipped is the next step. The Bible is God’s language book. Study it and you will know how He communicates.
"Seek out a church culture that celebrates hearing heaven's voice."
In order to learn a language, you must be in the environment where it is spoken. Seek out a church culture that celebrates hearing heaven’s voice and learning to communicate with God. Learning a new language requires humility because you will make mistakes, many of them humorous ones. It will seem strange as you learn to speak its sounds but keep trying.
Take time. There is no crash course in learning the voice of God. In fact, it takes a lifetime of interaction with Him. There will be times you misunderstand, but allow yourself time to learn. God the Father is pleased that you want to learn His language in the same way you are pleased when someone is trying to learn your language.
SOLVING MYSTERIES IN THE CHURCH
The church will be confronting important mysteries in this generation. Where is the church heading? How will leadership shift? What is the right model for building a true kingdom culture? Are tragic situations going to radically change how we live? What will the future be for my children?
Perhaps you will never know why ducks come home, but God is willing to help you solve some of life’s greatest mysteries. Are you willing to turn aside and give yourself to understanding Him?