Stunned and with much concern for my well-being, my teacher asked momma about my heart-rending story. Momma was shocked to hear that I had told such a “lie” and assured my teacher and me that when we arrived home I would receive a spanking!
Had I “lied” or had I told the story the best way that my little girl heart could understand the reality? The truth is that although she would have been a few years older than me, I did have a sister who died when she was only a month old. I must have over-heard momma sharing this incident and attempted to understand it. I recognized that her death was “unusual” and I couldn’t imagine a sister doing anything other than playing with me. Consequently, I concluded that she and I must have been playing when she died!
I’ve come to realize that a similar process tends to take place as we try to understand God’s Word. It seems that most of us take what we hear and either parrot it back as “truth” or we take it in the best way that our hearts and minds can understand it at the time, only to discover later that, although not totally inaccurate, we had much of it distorted! Unfortunately, we pass on our warped understanding as though we have it “all figured out” and like my teacher, others unwittingly swallow it hook, line and sinker!
Did I receive the lickin’ that momma promised? Momma swears to this day, “Why, Bonnie Joann! I would have never spanked you for such a thing!” I lovingly explain, “Momma, I remember very clearly that long ride home! The anticipation was much worse than the spanking itself!” Did I need to hear truth from momma? Of course! However, while it certainly impressed upon me that lying wasn’t wise, the discipline didn’t make reality any clearer for me because I wasn’t capable of understanding it.
In our “wisdom” we recognize people who “need Truth” and of course there seems to be no better time than now for them to “get it”! After all, shouldn’t we speak spiritual Truth in all circumstances? Jesus said to disciples, "I have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now" (John 16:12). Sometimes the Lord may restrain us from speaking the truth because the person can't bear it now – a better moment will come later. We can rebuke people for their ignorance and explain Truth `til the cows come home, but if they are not prepared to receive it, it “does not compute”! Just as I was able to understand the reality of what had happened to my sister and was equipped to share it more accurately as I matured, the Spirit of God is the One who prepares us and gradually guides us into deeper maturity and illuminates our hearts (John 16:13) with greater Truths.
Why are we so quick to point out one another’s misunderstandings?
Is our Lord not capable of using them for His glory?
Is His timing of revelation not perfect?
Through the years, I have had an underlying awareness that, in regard to my understanding of God’s Word, “some of the pieces just didn’t quite fit.” Although I had no clue how to rearrange them, there was something about the discomfort of those “misplaced pieces” that caused me to keep seeking, searching and asking questions. Just as His Word promises, we will find Him if we look for Him with all our hearts (Deut. 4:29). My dependency upon His Spirit grew and my passion for Jesus intensified as a result of my persistence in wrestling the pieces around!
A little over two years ago, the Lord re-kindled my life-long desire to write. The passion on my heart was to write in such a way that others would be encouraged to pay attention to the discomfort of the “misplaced pieces,” to not give up seeking Truth, to not crumble under the pious reproach of others and to assure them that there is Life that can be found if we are willing to know Him and understand His Kingdom with our whole hearts.
And one last thing…I’ve often felt all alone in my searching. Consequently, I know how lonely the journey can be. Like you, I still don’t have all the pieces in the right place, but can we search together in love? As we do, unlike my struggle to explain my sister’s death, the nature of our love will communicate to the vastness of this universe, Truths beyond our own comprehension, but surely for the One who lives and His glorious Kingdom!