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About Understanding

“I just don’t understand.”

I uttered those words dozens of times, those closing months of 2021. But who could count? (Except possibly my friend, who heard it delivered in a variety of forms and volumes more times than she could tally.)

Because I didn’t understand.

I didn’t understand the ways of the world. Or what was happening in it. I didn’t understand what was—and wasn’t—happening to me. I was confounded by the darkness in the world . . . and the brokenness of it.

I wasn’t necessarily questioning why. Or demanding answers. It was simply an expression of my confusion.

That worn out refrain was all I could mutter—when reasonableness failed to behave. And sensibleness couldn’t be found.

But, really, should I have been so overly surprised? Should I have expected any more from the world?

Because isn’t everything awaiting redemption? Including me?

Shouldn’t I have been more prepared—faith-full—come what may?

If I don’t understand that, I clearly don’t understand what it means to be a disciple of Jesus!

To have any other expectation is unrealistic . . . and reckless with my own wellbeing of mind.

Was it wrong to have an expectation for reasonableness?

Sometimes, the questions we ask can be most revealing. Sometimes, they reveal idols lurking within.

I can have an expectation for things to make sense . . . as long as I don’t make it a god I trust in.

What do you find yourself trusting in? When all is well and seems right? When you feel secure, comfortable, and at ease?

Should our expectations for reality be anything other than an expectancy of difficulty and frustration?

Wouldn’t this imply then that it’s better to have expectations in God (not from God) than expectations from the world?

I can expect Him to be there. I can expect Him to be faithful. I can expect Him to be good. Trustworthy. Righteous. Forbearing with my weakness and lack of understanding.

As for understanding . . .

Maybe understanding is highly overrated. That likely depends upon what you’re trying to understand!

Are you trying to understand foolishness? That’s not going to make any sense.

Are you trying to understand the ways of the world? Well, that’s constantly shifting.

Or are you trying to understand the ways and will of God—which He has revealed through Christ Jesus (1 Jn 5:20) and has provided the Holy Spirit for our continual growth in understanding.

May my cry come before you, Lord;

Give me understanding according to Your word

(Ps 119:169).

We can pray for understanding. We can pray for understanding not only for ourselves but for one another. We can pray to understand what our Lord said. Why He said it. And how to apply it. To understand what it means to be a disciple. To understand how to remain faithful—even when we don’t understand.

Understanding belongs to God (Jb 12:13). It is a gift from Him (Ex 35:31; 1 Kg 4:29; Jb 32:8). It can be gained through His Word (Ps 119:130). And it grows over time (Jb 12:12). So, we must seek God to gain it. For we certainly dare not trust in our own (Prv 3:5).

Gain understanding . . . and use it for good (Jms 3:13). For God—from whence it came.

And, in those times when you’re thrown because of a lack of understanding things all around you, trust God.

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