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  • Sonya Leigh Anderson

The Mystery of Being Human

Nils and Brina. Countdown to wedding.

I have spent a good bit of time, lately, imagining this mystery. Which is, perhaps, the best I can do. Mysteries being, by nature, beyond explanation. Almost always beyond description. But beyond imagination? We’ll see…

I’ve spent my summer immersed in the story of heaven and earth. It’s the story I’ve been sharing with kids at camps. It’s the story of the book I’m writing. And it’s the story I am living, too. If you’ve been following my posts at all, you’ve likely caught at least a glimpse.

I usually start with Eden. But today I believe I’ll skip all the way to Jesus. Jesus who—for the sake of imagining this mystery—becomes The Illustration. When He took on flesh, and He took up residence on this, our planet…He showed us something we’d need to know.

Jesus. Fully God. Fully man. It’s like I tell the kids. Jesus was 100% God. And He was 100% human. (They usually look at me with a bit of confusion. Like I’ve forgotten how to do my math.) But yes. This, in a nutshell, is the mystery. Jesus was all of that, all together, all at once.

Jesus ate, and He slept, and He suffered. Jesus laughed, and He cried, and He loved. Jesus knew frustration, and grief, and the breath-taking wonder of all that it means to be honestly and genuinely human. All of it. He was.

But somehow, Jesus never stopped being God. At the exact same time Jesus entered a broken human body, He remained, also, altogether whole and holy. He remained perfectly faithful and true. And if you think THIS is a mystery, just hold on, because what I’m going to suggest might be even more mind-bending for you…

Here’s what I imagine. (Again, let me remind you. This is no theological explanation. This is merely me entering a story, and imagining it to a mysterious and wonderful conclusion…) So. What I wonder is this. Could the Jesus equation be OUR equation, too? Like this…

We who are IN JESUS. Are 100% human. And 100% something-else-too?? (“Spiritual” or “holy”—or shall we say, saint?)

Here in this life, on this earthly planet, post-resurrection, united with Jesus—

Is it possible that we, like Him, might actually be BOTH?

Like Jesus. We eat, we sleep, we suffer. We laugh and we cry and we love. We are, at the same time, broken-resurrected, whole and holy. Impossibly faithful and true.


Thinking like this just might change the way we see our story. It could take the sting from our doubts, and the fear from our “WHY??” We face illness and injury. Sadness and loss. Fear and failure. And all of this is completely expected when we see ourselves fully as 100% that.

But also. Here in this life, while we live on this planet. We live in the miracle of 100% other. Resurrected and free. Transformed and perfected. Caught up in a love that is HOLY OTHER—but surely and truly WHOLLY REAL. The mystery and miracle of so much heaven, within and around us, right here in the midst of this earthly life.

A mystery, I tell you. But what if it’s true?

Jesus lived fully as a vulnerable human being. So do we. We are people who enter into this suffering story with compassion and empathy, humility and grace. At the same time, Jesus, as God, was exempt from evil. He was sinless and holy. And through His death and resurrection—by some miraculous, mysterious formula, He makes a way to share this with us, too!

Mind-bending. I warned you. But true?

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. (2 Corinthians 4:7-12)

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