Paradox Lost is not a book I would stereotypically read. However, this book pushed me to think more in depth about my faith. I would like to think I have a strong faith, but I have allowed it to become stagnant. I do not explore the Scriptures as much as I could and I certainly do not ponder the mysteries of God. I have become content with knowing the simplistic version of the Christian faith, which is knowing that Jesus died for our sins and if we have faith and trust in God we are set for eternal life.
Hansen compares this way of faith to settlers setting up a homestead and not adventuring out into the wilderness as often as they originally did. The settlers would occasionally venture out into uncharted territory, which I find comparable to my faith. When I worked at Camp Luther during the summer I was surrounded by 50 other leaders that encouraged me to grow in my faith, I experienced a “faith high.” Once I go back home, though, I lose that sense of adventure in God’s Word. I lose that motivation to keep growing and go back to everyday life, just like the settlers stopped exploring and went about everyday life.
Another comparison Hansen makes is between mystery and fog. As more light is shown into the fog, the more you realize that there is much in the fog that you did not expect. Just like that, the more you explore a mystery, more questions pop up. The mystery gains more facets than was originally thought. This was a new definition of mystery for me. I always imagined mysteries to have a clear answer at the end. You piece the clues together and then after much pondering…*poof*… a clear answer becomes apparent! This is not the case for mysteries pertaining to God. God mysteries have clues and facts to piece together, but these lead to more questions and a clear answer is never fully reached. This does not give us an excuse to stop searching for answers. These searches lead to stronger faith and a continued realization that “there is a God and I am not he.”
This strange sort of comfort in knowing that we are not God is one of my favorite recurring themes in the book. It reminds me that we are not in control, but that someone who can handle those responsibilities way better than I could ever handle them is real. God takes care of us in more ways than we are even aware of. And knowing that there are some things that we have to just trust Him with is comforting. If we can trust that He knows things we can’t even begin to fathom, how much more can we trust Him with the little things in our life?
This book brought new ways of thinking about my faith journey, new definitions, and new concepts for ministry. I will be able to use the knowledge and concepts from this book throughout my life and I am truly glad for the opportunity to read it. I cannot wait to hear everyone’s thoughts and opinions about Paradox Lost.