Understanding

Have you ever wished you could get your mind around a certain issue or subject, really understand and master it? This happens to me all the time. There are so many things I wish I could understand, wrap my mind around, and feel like I really know the issue or the subject well. It seems the older I get the bigger the list becomes of things I feel intellectually inadequate to fully explain. I believe I had a much better grasp of things when I was younger.

Shouldn’t we be gaining in understanding the older we get? Doesn’t insight, wisdom, and the ability to understand a greater number of things come with years lived? To some extent, certainly. But the greater part of insight, wisdom and understanding is not the amount we know but the amount we realize we really don’t know. Years lived often carries with it enough experience to teach, even the most reluctant learner, that we really don’t have the grasp on something we thought. I guess this is one of life’s paradoxes….to be growing in experience, wisdom, and understanding, at the same time the bench mark for fully knowing keeps being set further and further out.

The Bible talks about this paradox of knowing yet not knowing, of understanding but not understanding. For example, the book of Proverbs instructs us regarding the value of gaining wisdom and understanding. “Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” Proverbs 4:7. This same author devoted himself “to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven”. At the end of that experimentation he wrote,“of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body”. His conclusion of the matter: “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man”.

It seems the older I get the more questions I have. Do I possess more knowledge and wisdom than when I was younger? Yes. But that knowledge and wisdom has also created more questions and a greater realization of how far I fall short of knowing fully.

“Now I know in part”. The apostle Paul