There are times, especially recently, where I do not understand simple English. It is as if the sounds form words that I know the definitions of, but when I link the definitions to each other I find myself staring out into space wondering if the speaker and I are on the same planet. Even when I combine the body language, tone, inflections, and everything else going on that I can find or sense, I end up confused. Usually it is sounds, but there are moments when a presentation or article generates the same experience.
Perhaps it is my age. Maybe the gray hairs are dominating my ability to concentrate. The simple fact is that I lose the plot. When I look around me, read history and books on the lives of others before me, I find comfort because I am not the only one! There are others confused by what makes sense to others. Take the case of Mary and Martha who were friends of Jesus. When they found out their brother was extremely sick they sent a message. “When Jesus got the message, he said, ‘This sickness is not fatal. It will become an occasion to show God's glory by glorifying God's Son.’” (John 11.4) They were as confused as I am on certain occasions.
The problem is more real than most are willing to admit. It could be a colleague at work or Cherry at home. Do I really understand what was just said? If not, do I have the courage to ask? In one situation I know that I can and will ask. To be candid, I don’t understand him at least one third of the time. In those circumstances I tell him I don’t have a clue. I remind him that I want to understand. I ask him to try another way. I am fortunate in that he loves my honesty. We have great conversations!
God invites you and me into the same experience. If we don’t know, ask. If we cannot hear, listen. God is engaged. Confusion doesn’t need to win.
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