The Process and Pain of (Mis)Understanding

Living in a foreign country has me feeling like a misunderstood teenager again.

Since coming here, I developed a habit of haranguing heaven with “God, when will you let me understand why you’ve brought me to Spain? Why did you extract me from my element, country and place of comfort? How much longer until I know? Don’t you realize I need to understand what you’re doing?”

Ever been there, done that?

Well, three weeks ago, on a beach in Barcelona, God graciously told me I need to stop going there and doing that.

Five hours into my relaxing rendezvous with the warm, silky sand and crisp, Catalán waves, I drowned in the pain and frustration of misunderstanding.

“¡Perdón, perdón. Un ladrón robó mi bolsa!”

Passport. iPhone. Wallet. License. Credit cards. Metro card. Sunglasses. Eyeglasses. Gone. I had been robbed.

Frantically, I explained to the nearby restaurant owner the wrong I suffered, but none of my broken Spanish conveyed the shock and violation rattling my bones. He didn’t seem to understand me, and I didn’t understand why I got robbed.

But, amidst this unfortunate inconvenience, God faithfully revealed a very harsh truth: Understanding belongs to Him, not me.

“To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are His,” Job 12:13.

Perhaps God brought me to Spain so I would hear Him a little more clearly when He spoke this truth to me.

As Jesus takes me farther along this foreign journey, He’s continually reminding me that He understands, and that needs to be enough for me.

So, I’m letting go of the misconception that I’m entitled to understand what God is doing or permitting. I can ask and pray for increased understanding, but ultimately I must choose to be content with what He does and doesn’t reveal to me. I must walk in confidence, believing He is in control, and if He is in control then peace is mine because “All things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose,” Romans 8:28.

With that, I invite you to join me in trusting that Jesus doesn’t waste our time or experiences. Trust that He is eternally intentional with where He brings us, and with what He reveals and conceals from us. Choose trust and marvel as your intimacy with God grows wildly deep.

Ultimately, as Christians, we must decide to march ahead, accepting misunderstanding or misfortune when it comes, and trusting that in His good and perfect timing, He will let us in on all His secrets.

Let’s decide we are daring enough to move when He says to, without any guarantee of knowing why. Because, if we can get to the place of not demanding to understand and instead choose to walk in complete surrender, we’ll be unstoppable.

It’s a process, for me and for you. But take heart because Jesus is molding us, friend. He’s bringing us to the place where we “Trust in The Lord with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding,” Proverbs 3:5.

Originally published by Delight Ministries, April 23, 2015.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Jamie Carter says:

    I would have loved to have the opportunity to go to Spain or any other Spanish-speaking country. I can’t imagine all the great things I could learn – not just to improve my Spanish, but to look at life from the perspective of someone else who wasn’t born and raised with American ideology. How would my Christianity be different if my churches didn’t teach me from a Southern Baptist background?
    It’s not pleasant to be misunderstood – but perhaps we can learn something from it. What if we have misunderstood scripture in much the same way? After all, it’s a 2,000 year old Aramaic, Hebrew, and Greek book that was translated to English after a few centuries of being copied down and has been continually interpreted anew for each generation. If two people speaking the same language can confuse one another – then certainly this book can cause confusion!

  2. alexisreb says:

    You’re absolutely right, Jamie! Thanks so much for sharing and for reading!

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