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Deeper than what meets the eye
- Jacob Ninan
No one would deny that our life is full of perplexities where even when we want to do the right thing we do not know what to do. We would think that when we want to do God's will the least thing God could do was to tell us what it was. But many times He doesn't, straightaway. From our point of view it appears as if He takes some sadistic thrill by delaying answers to prayer, not giving explanations, etc. We know He is not sadistic at all. It just looks like that at times.
We know how Jesus deliberately delayed coming to Lazarus when He heard he was ill (Jn.11:6). Of course Mary and Martha were upset about that. The story ended dramatically with an outstanding miracle and everyone was happy. But the sisters could have wondered why the Lord let them go through those six days of agony.
Peter was praying one day at noon time, hungry and waiting for food. Then God showed him the vision of a great sheet coming down from the sky carrying creatures of all types. God told him three times that he should take and eat. Each time Peter replied that he was not used to eating unclean things. The sheet was taken back, but Peter was left in perplexity about what this meant (Ac.10:17). The men from Cornelius were at the door of the house and it was only a mater of minutes before Peter could understand the application of the vision. But the question is why the Lord did not explain the vision to Peter.
The answer is that God does not merely want us to do certain things, but He wants us to become a certain type of people. He wants to train us to become mature in our thinking, applying of truths, and decision making (Ep.4:13). It is not enough to know Bible truths, but we need to learn to think in a mature way, and make proper application (2Ti.3:16,17). It takes perplexities to force us to flex out spiritual muscles and to become strong. We cannot learn this if God were to spoon feed us all the time.
Think about how Jesus had to become a man and live on this Earth and go through all the difficulties and temptations we face in order to understand the feeling of our weaknesses (He.4:15). Though it is not an accurate analogy we can think that just as He had to become a man in order to taste and understand the life of men even though He knew everything as God, we too need the rough and tough of life in addition to our Bible knowledge.
This is especially true in the matter of understanding what others go through. We tend to be self-centred in our thinking, and without understanding what others feel we take decisions from our point of view. Adversities and perplexities break this stronghold. I remember reading about one of two ladies in a church who was asking God why she was not as fruitful as the other. God said it was because the other had gone through much hardship in life. Maturity and hardship come as a package. When we go through hardship with trust and patience we can also emerge mature and fruitful.