Apparently, “Delayed Comprehension Disorder” is a cognitive glitch, a difficulty in processing information that every would-be educator or parent will readily identify. (“What is it about “No” that you do not understand?”). It’s something that seemed to happen to the first followers of Jesus on a twenty minute cycle.
They just didn’t get it. Any of it.
I’m pretty sure I’d be the same. Perhaps the question I am asked most often, and the one I am least qualified to answer is “Why?” Why did I lose my job? Why did my loved one die? Why did this horrible tragedy take place? Why did God do this? or Why did God allow that?
Well, I might be able to suggest a few possibilities here and there, but it would all be guesswork. The trouble is, I just don’t know.
There’s an interesting moment when Jesus came to wash their feet and Peter resisted. Jesus said “You do not realise now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”(John 13:7)
Did you notice the giveaway clause? It’s so helpful. “You do not realize now what I am doing.” God is doing something right now! He is not sitting idly by waiting for something to happen. He is actively at work in our lives. In Ephesians 2:10, Paul reminds us that we are HIS “workmanship”. He has a plan and it’s a good plan! He’s working something out in our lives. We just can’t see it yet.
And Paul spelt it out in Romans 8:28: “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” God is not deflected or distracted from that workmanship purpose. He never makes a wrong move or gets caught unawares by some new problem.
Unfortunately “You do not realize now what I am doing. In A Walk to Remember, Nicholas Sparks wrote: “I know the Lord has a plan for us all, but sometimes, I just don’t understand what the message can be… “I don’t think that we’re meant to understand it all the time. I think that sometimes we just have to have faith.”
So what do we do? We are just to walk in the light that we are given. And Psalm 119:105 describes God’s Word to us as a “Lamp to my feet.”
The trouble is: What God is doing may not make sense to us. Death…sickness…loss… so much of life is incomprehensible and painful. But it helps me to know that Jesus said we wouldn’t understand. We are simply called upon to believe in His goodness, accept His direction, trust in His plan.
“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)
This is the answer that the Bible gives. It is to contrast the confusion of “Now” with the clarity of “Then.” It is, you might say, the view from the top.
So in Romans 8:18, Paul can say, “I reckon that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” And in 2 Corinthians 4:15-18: “We do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
How can Paul say that? Because, as Jesus said, “You will know later.” It’s going to come clear. The random spread of iron filings over this sheet of paper will one day snap into beautiful patterned order, when the magnet pulls them into place. The back side of the tapestry will be flipped about to reveal a coherent picture, and not just a bewildering jumble of loose ends. There’s a different view from the top It might look different then.
I remember loving the resonant repetitions of the phrases of Isaiah 40:5 that our choir used to sing, from Handel’s Messiah: “And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.” All this apparent confusion, this cacophony of tragedy, will be harmonized into one amazing burst of glory. It will be “revealed” as never before. And “all flesh” (Every knee bowing in total comprehension of just who the Boss really is) will see it, and get it, “together.”