The Joy of Seeking Understanding

“pondering and studying”

Ecclesiastes 12:9



One of my favorite books in recent years was actually a book assigned to one of my kids in school.  The curriculum we use had this on the reading list, and my rule was always that if I was unfamiliar with a book, I would read it myself before I assigned it to my kids.

The book is The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare.  I was familiar with Ms Speare, having loved The Witch of Blackbird Pond when I was a child, but I hadn’t heard of this book.  I loved it.  It’s about a boy growing up in the time of Jesus, and his thoughts and actions as he reacted to this unusual Man in his area.

It intrigues me because I’ve always been fascinated by trying to imagine myself in a certain time in history.  In the time of the American Revolution, would I have been a Tory or a Whig?  In the time of the pilgrims, would I have had the courage to leave my homeland for the “new” world?  During World War II, if I had lived in the affected area, would I have defended or protected Jews?  Or would I have been too scared?

And how would I have reacted to Jesus, if I had met Him?

Daniel, the boy in the book had several encounters with Jesus, occasionally healings of one form or another, but mostly in teaching situations.  Jesus would sit and teach, and people would sit and listen.  Sometimes Daniel was in the group.  This quote from the book stood out to me: “he sat in the garden and listened to the words of Jesus.  He did not always understand the words, and often he walked home puzzled and impatient…”

“Puzzled and impatient”.  Does God’s word ever make you feel that way?  It happens to me plenty.  What about your prayer time ~ does God’s reaction to your prayer request ever leave you puzzled or impatient?

I read this recently: “We need to approach Scripture with an earnest desire to understand it.  God does not demand a faith that asks no question, admits to no doubts, and grapples with no difficult texts.  Such faith will not withstand the pressure of serious opposition or tragedy.  Helmut Thielicke, a noted German theologian, suggested that there is a godless Yes as well as a godless No.  He meant that when we agree with a statement simply because we are too lazy or too disinterested to really consider the question, we show not faith, but indifference.”

See?  Puzzled is good.  Working to understand is good.  Wondering and asking and reading and studying are good.  So if you’ve ever come away puzzled or impatient, that’s okay.  Keep up the good work!




~ “Ezra had set his heart

     to study the law of the Lord” ~

Ezra 7:10


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