When I went to wash my hands in the restroom of a Chinese factory, the sign above the sink said: “Perfermance tap, stretched out your hands to effluent, Please do not agitute!” (sic) In my Japanese hotel room, there was no flush lever on the toilet — instead, there was quite a complex looking control box attached to the wall, all in Japanese (and some cute pictures!) — I’m sure one of these buttons indicated “flush”, but which one? What if I press the wrong button? These are silly examples, but let’s face it, the world can be a very confusing place.
How do you react when confusion sets in? For me, as time pressures rise, my stress rises much more quickly with the amount of confusion, usually making things only worse.
How do you resolve your confusion? Do you look for a “Good Samaritan” (please help me!)? Just start pressing as many buttons as possible (just try something — anything)? Take it out on the offending thing and strike it?!
Jesus’ disciples were confused a lot; in fact, one could consider them confused nearly the whole time they were with Jesus (except for rare divine moments), up until when the Holy Spirit was given to them at a special celebration called Pentecost. After that, it seemed they were thankfully no longer confused. (They had their disagreements, but individuals didn’t seem confused as to what they should do next!)
Was Jesus ever confused? It’s hard to imagine our God incarnate (who made us all!), ever not understanding something. Yet the thing that confounded Him most was our own thick-headedness. He would cry out — “Oh you of little faith!”, and “How can you be so dull?” Creation didn’t puzzle Him, but people confounded Him frequently! People confound me, too, so I shouldn’t feel too bad about that.
How did Jesus deal with his confusion? Is there a lesson here? Patience. And a lot of it. As Jesus was infinite in everything, He was certainly infinite in patience. He took time to explain things (again!), and sometimes, when all the explaining in the world wouldn’t work, He just moved on, knowing they would “get it” eventually.
Should the gift of the Holy Spirit clarify everything for us, as it did the disciples? How I wish it would, and how I wish it did. Maybe the Holy Spirit doesn’t clarify everything to me because I don’t welcome Him in sufficiently well. The disciples reacted to that Gift by becoming one purpose, spreading God’s Word. I reacted to that gift too, but retain many purposes — work, family, home, and oh yes, spreading God’s Word. Maybe I’d be a lot less confused if I focused more clearly only on God’s will. Maybe then, the Holy Spirit would make clear all the confusion in my life.
When’s the last time you lifted up your confusion to the One who can clarify all?