Every part of life can usually be traced with a transition from the simple to the complex.
Take politics, for example. When I first dove in and joined the gladiatoresque world of partisanship and policy, my points of view were straightforward, easily argued. I held my ideology tightly, and outside reason didn’t infiltrate it frequently.
As the years went on, the simple philosophical arguments I utilized became detailed, measured. I still believed firmly in principles rotating around freedom and limited government, but my thoughts became more compassionate, more pragmatic, better rounded. The ideas I once held simply weren’t enough to fully explain the issues anymore; they needed more perspective, better data.
The shift is something that must happen in all realms. If this transition never takes place, it means no growth is occurring. After all, it’s a built in reality from the day we’re born – if you never exchange some of the simplicity of childhood for the complexity of adulthood, you will actually be causing harm to yourself in the long run.
So why is this transition so discouraging when it comes to the Word of God?
There was a day that I opened my Bible, and found myself more and more confused. The words that once meant something in my life seemed new and unfamiliar, and it was like I couldn’t grasp the concepts that I had always understood.
Nothing about Scripture made sense anymore.
I’ve since realized that the confusion I felt was a mark of the transition from simplistic belief to more complex understanding. It wasn’t enough to understand the Bible on a surface level – I had to plunge to new depths.
Scripture itself speaks about this shift, often using the biological example of shifting from drinking milk to eating meat. It isn’t enough to stay in the familiar – we have to keep moving forward into what doesn’t make sense, growing there.
So while it’s still frustrating to open up Scripture and feel like I no longer understand, it’s also oddly encouraging whenever it occurs. Life keeps moving forward into the unknown, and so must we. When nothing makes sense anymore, whether it be in the Word or elsewhere, take a deep breath, double down, and utilize the new space to expand your understanding in a renewed way.