Sunday, June 26, 2011

Waiting in the Dark

Some people say we learn all of our lives, but if so, I wonder why we are so bad at it. As a teacher, I daily watched the learning process and constantly marveled at the way I could explain something to a student a dozen times, but on the thirteenth, for no apparent reason, he would suddenly understand. We called these light bulb moments, and I never understood how they worked. Until today.

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from His roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him--the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord--and He will delight in the fear of the Lord.--Isaiah 11:1-3

What I saw operating in my students in their light bulb moments was understanding, and according to Isaiah, understanding comes from God. No wonder they never got it the first twelve times. Whatever truth I tried to explain, whether it was the formula for circumference or how to use past participles or the simplicity of faith, I had to wait for God to add His part to mine for the process to complete. The truth of the Math or English or godly principle existed whether the child knew it or not, much like the reality of a round world waited for people to abandon the flat one.

Understanding this helps take the panic out of my own lapses in understanding. God revealed Himself to men gradually in His own time after all: first He walked with Adam and Eve, talked with the patriarchs, and gave them His Word in the Old Testament, then He sent His Son to be with us in the flesh, then He sent His Spirit, the same spirit that still gives us wisdom, knowledge, understanding, counsel, and fear of Him. And just like the blank spots that Abraham and the apostles knew even though God was with them all the time, I, too, know times of empty cluelessness. But never fear.

From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places they should live. God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each of us.--Acts 17:26-27

Like for the students, the Holy Spirit brings understanding and wisdom and faith and fear exactly when I need them--exactly when I, specifically, need them, and for the express purpose of bringing me nearer to Him. If I flail about a bit waiting, then the result will be worth it. Until then, I pray, "Holy Spirit, Come."

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