After a long hiatus, primarily spawned by grad school and subsequent season of recovery, I am trying to write again. Four days each week is my goal, which feels achievable while still being challenging enough to push me through stagnancy. But, as anyone who writes/blogs/journals/etc… can attest, there are some days when you can type/write a bunch of words and after you review it you realize that it is terminally infected with boredom and meh.
Other times, though much more rare, what I’ve written seems interesting (to me at least), but after reviewing it prior to posting/publishing I realize that I’m either wrong about what I wrote or at the very least haven’t actually gotten to the primary meaning.
Yesterday was one of those days.
From a passage I’ve read dozens of times in Matthew 12, I thought I had a perspective that was compelling enough to write about, and yet, when I started re-reading it I realized that not only was the piece not as well-written as I’d hoped, but I wasn’t even sure I understood the passage anymore.
Frustration set in. As did some melancholy.
But as I was thinking about it again this morning I was strangely comforted by the idea that I would have something to write this morning because of my limitations yesterday. Not that I’ve now figured out the passage, and feel confident to re-write yesterday’s post; the identity of the “strong man” in Matthew 12 could still be representative of at least three figures/ideas in my mind. But this morning I can write about the glory of not knowing.
In an entry from a devotional book by Bethel Church pastor, Bill Johnson, something stood out to me this morning and gave me some clarity. He was talking about the relationship of faith and intellect, and he said,
I’m sure the most of you have had this experience – you’ve been reading the Bible and a verse jumps out at you. There is great excitement over this verse that seems to give so much life and encouragement to you. Yet initially you couldn’t teach or explain that verse if your life depended on it. What happened is this: your spirit received the life-giving power of the word from the Holy Spirit…through the process of revelation and experience our mind eventually obtains understanding.
Bill Johnson, When Heaven Invades Earth
This resonated in me this morning.
Sometimes it’s enough to simply know that there’s more in front of us. We don’t have to be able to immediately articulate everything that we feel or believe. Impact comes first, explanation comes later.
Now, with that being said, I fully intend on consulting commentaries, articles and any other resources I can find to start whittling the raw feeling that I got from Matthew 12 so I can gain usable insight into what affected me so powerfully. But, the unexplainable impact is not less important because I am presently unable to wax with profound lucidity about the text.
When we find that a passage pokes and prods at our heart and mind but we can’t seem to figure out why, this is not a failure of ability and it is not evidence of our inadequacy. No, this means that the Spirit of God cares enough about our spiritual growth to impact our heart with a truth that our head has been challenged to understand through pursuit and effort.
These moments of mental turmoil are actually invitations to embrace a journey with God. When things are hard to understand, or we read something that challenges our preconceived notions, there should be excitement in us because a door has been opened in front of us; and any door God opens is an access point into deeper joy, greater insight and fullness of life.