When Your Understanding Hits the Wall!

Posted by David MacAdam

"Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?" (Romans 11:34 NIV).

What do we do when we hit the wall of our limited understanding? Life deals each of us some hard punches. There are times when we want to cry, "Unfair!" Even as believers, we may wonder why some prayers are answered so obviously and some appear to be ignored. Why does God spare one person from an accident and apparently not another? We read of one man's miraculous escape from danger and another who is a victim of a senseless crime. We hear of praying people surviving a plane crash without a scratch and other praying people on board the same flight perishing in flames.

Even the searchlight of the God's Holy Word cannot disclose to human understanding all of His secrets (Deuteronomy 29:29). In Jesus' parable, the storm of adversity came upon both the wise and foolish man (Matthew 7:24-27). The difference was that the wise man was prepared for it.

Jesus was asked to interpret the calamities of his day. He didn't give any answer but for each of us to seek a right relationship with God. He implied that there was a God-ordained limit to human understanding. He emphasized that we are not responsible for what we don't know but that we are responsible for what we do know. We should repent of our arrogant independence from God and trust Him (Luke 13:1-5).

What do we do when our understanding hits the wall? Instead of crying 'foul', we need to humbly place what we don't know at the feet of what we do know about God's character. The Scriptures give enough evidence of God's redemptive architecture in history to convince us that He has a perfect plan. There is much evidence that He loves us. What we don't understand needs to be interpreted in the light of what we DO understand.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28 NIV).

Perhaps no other verse in Scripture offers more comfort to the believer in the face of perplexity. The Apostle Paul was not ashamed to plead ignorance in regards to why some people apparently suffer more than others. He himself was baffled by his irremovable thorn. He refused to live in self-pity about his persecutions, beatings and illnesses, even though he did not understand them. He trusted that God would ultimately use them to good effect.

"I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day." Paul did not claim crystal clear certainty regarding what he believed. He confessed that in spite of all the revelation He had of God, in some respects he only perceived Him dimly (1Corinthians 13:12). He simply said, "I know WHOM I have believed."

While answers may not be always be in hand, we have the assurance that God is at work to deal perfectly and thoroughly with the apparent injustice, oppression and cruel selfishness in the world. Like the equipped soldiers bearing the presence of the King in the Song of Songs, we are to be prepared for the terrors of the night, when our vision is restricted.

"Look! It is Solomon's carriage, escorted by sixty warriors, the noblest of Israel, all of them wearing the sword, all experienced in battle, each with his sword at his side, prepared for the terrors of the night." (Song of Solomon 3:7-8 NIV).

God is good. He wants what is best for us. No life experience or trial is without the potential to make us better. Through trusting Him in every perplexity we are better equipped to deal with the darkness of our limited understanding and the spirits of darkness that spread doubt and fear. May we be equipped for the terrors of the night! Help us Lord to trust Your hand in all things. May we commit every situation to You for the advancement of Your good purposes.

Prepared through perplexities,

David MacAdam, Pastor/Teacher
New Life Community Church