Our Christian life and faith is often understood with brilliant clarity. We are thankful for this low-hanging fruit. At other times, it is difficult to find clarity while grappling with less explicit and opaque aspects of our lives and faith.
The roads we travel can be smog free, smoothly surfaced, and mapped out with precision, bringing us to our expected destination. Life is much easier when this happens. Yet, there will also be baffling and hard to understand twist and turns as God is working out our lives and the lives of our loved ones. We will travel down some pathways where doubts linger and we wonder if things will get better.
This dichotomy also plays out in our interpretation of the Scriptures. Some verses are easily understood, others are harder to comprehend, and others are even more difficult to work out in our minds and hearts. Robert Sabin, one of my professors in college spoke to this conundrum when he said, “Scriptures that are hard to understand are better interpreted with Scriptures that are more easily understood.” Although this is a very helpful guideline, there are verses and stories in the Bible that are very puzzling and give many of us difficulty in so many ways regardless of how we try to decipher the real meaning.
One of the thoughts that has helped me over the years is knowing we can apprehend the things we do not comprehend. This is not a blind faith that is rightly discredited in both religious and secular contexts. Paul wrote, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” This kind of faith comes from within, the secret influences of the Spirit that persuade and motivate us to apprehend what we cannot comprehend.
Joseph C. Hutchison
Rochester Hills, Michigan
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