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Wisdom comes from understanding

Augustine once wrote that-

Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore seek not to understand that you may believe, But believe that you may understand.”

Now when we read these words we are amazed at their impact and great value. For Augustine, there was a reason for such impact and value in what he knew and what he expressed.

There is a story recorded for us in Matthew, Mark, and Luke about how Jesus responded to a request. In the account found in Mark 9, we see Jesus dealing with a man and his son who was possessed. In this particular accounting, the disciples had failed in their attempt to deal with the situation.

In life, there are so many things in which we fail. I mean we have the right thoughts and our intentions are good but ultimately we fail. We don’t mean to and we really do want to the see the Lord glorified but we fail.

Michael Jordan missed more than 9000 shots in his career, lost almost 300 games, 26 times, he was trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. Yet he said “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” Did you get that? Success was found out of failure. That is something to think about especially if you are feeling defeated and unable to succeed.

Failure is a part of life. It is something that we do and we don’t want to but we do. The problem with failure is that our first response to run and hide. Not to confront it or to even attempt to rectify the problem.

For the man whose son was the object of this situation, well failure was not an option. He needed it, he wanted his son healed. In verses 21 and 22 there is a dialogue between the father and Jesus.

21 And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him.

So the father continues …But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us. Then in verse 23, Jesus's response is “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”

When you consider this scripture and then look at what Augustine said you can conclude that Augustine had learned an invaluable lesson from this text when he said that. “Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore seek not to understand that you may believe, But believe that you may understand.”

These past two months are something that none of us have seen or experienced before. Now if you are like me then you are also hopeful we never see or experience it ever again. But that is not our call; it may be our hope but not our call. Living through the things that life brings to us is simply what life is about. Each day is a new day and the writer in Ecclesiastes certainly knew it when he recorded in chapter 3 verse 1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:. Then the writer goes through a list of when there is a time for this or a time for that. Will things be good at times? Most certainly but just as certain there will be times when they will go well there will be times when it does not go as well. So then what do I do Pastor? Heed the words of Augustine and remember that your understanding is your reward for faith, and remember to believe and then you will understand. The most important thought here is to remember what Jesus said “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”

A thought to ponder,

Elbert Nasworthy



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