Understand - to know the meaning of something, such as words that someone is saying or a language; to know how something works or happens; to know how someone thinks, feel, or behaves
As I write these posts for this crazy challenge - and may I say, I wish I was on Z! - I'm learning as I go along. I've been blown away by some of the words which have found their way into my brain and onto the keyboard. It's like I'm learning about Jesus in a new way I never saw before even though I've known of him my whole life.
I say "I've known of him" because for a great portion of my life that's how I would describe it. I've heard about him. I've heard about the things he did, the stories he told, the people whose lives he touched. I've heard about him. But those things were sort of like a box of puzzle pieces dumped out on a table, a mish mash of cardboard with splashes of color pasted on them.
One piece may have the piece of the crucifixion on it that I've known about since I was a baby, yet couldn't comprehend until I was much older and my brain started to associate death with people who died. People I knew. Because I knew people who died, I was able to see Jesus as someone who died.
The other pieces of the puzzle were still scattered on the table but they started to become connected to each other and I could see how the death of Jesus mattered in regards to the death of others.
One piece started to connect to another and so on and so forth. Not much different than how we learn in life. What caused us grief and despair as an adolescent seems ridiculous to a middle-aged adult, but the experiences of adolescence were laying the foundation of learning and living for my age now and my older age tomorrow. Everything connects, yet not everything makes sense when it's being taught.
Yet, the puzzle pieces still come together. Slowly sometimes, but other times, the light is good and the pieces are illuminated so clearly that much of life makes sense. The puzzle pieces start connecting. Much of the past makes sense in the present and the future looks less scary in the face of what is understood thus far.
That's a little bit how I see God's word working in the life of someone. So much will never be understood and so much more is just waiting to be understood for when the time is exactly right and we can see the meaning based on how God has illuminated its truth to our minds and hearts.
I learn differently than my husband, but somehow, we've both come to the conclusion that Jesus is who He said He is. There are times when I believe because of what the Bible says is true about Him and then there are times I believe simply because I can see how He is working in my life. He can only teach me about Himself in the way that I can understand and He can only teach my husband and you about Himself in the way he and you are individually wired to understand.
Somehow the pieces still come together and connect, yet I don't have to worry that the edge pieces are not being put together first because he might put the inside pieces of someone else's life together first and work from the inside out and others he may work from the outside in. You're not going to understand it all so give yourself permission to rest and enjoy what you do understand now.
Jesus had a take on understanding too. He said there would be many who would be ever hearing but never understanding, ever seeing but never perceiving. His word syniemi meant to "comprehend, understand, perceive. When the word is confined to the sphere of mental perception, it means to hear, notice, perceive, understand. Thus, it strictly denotes the collecting together of the individual features of an object into a whole, as collecting the pieces of a puzzle and putting them together."
That's the crossroads we're at every time we hear the word of God or sense his working in our heart. We can be one who is ever hearing but never understanding. Or we can be one who hears and turns and is forgiven.
Our understanding is not one that can be relied on. Only through the help of the Spirit of Jesus will we ever have the ability to understand all that he wants us to know about him, his work in our life, and his purpose for our life and the meaning of the pieces still being put together. But surely, we are invited to ask for understanding, trusting in Him with all our heart.
U is for Understand.
Things to chew on:
1. What pieces of your youth have you connected to how your life is today?
2. What pieces of your life today, which make no sense, can you set aside and wait for them to fit when more of the puzzle is put together?
3. What pieces of the Jesus puzzle have become more clear with age?
And if you're really adventurous, here are some of the passages from both Old and New Testaments which use the word syneimi in the Greek and Biyn and Biynah and Tebunah in Hebrew and are translated in variations of the word understand.
13:14, 15, 19, 23, 51
28:20, 23, 28
119:34, 73, 100, 104, 130, 144, 169
2:2,3, 5, 6, 9