Back when we first moved to China, we had lots of challenges. We didn’t really blend in. We didn’t understand the culture. We had trouble crossing the street without causing traffic accidents. We ate strange food. But by far the biggest challenge was simply communicating. Most people couldn’t understand us. And we certainly couldn’t understand them!
I had a very high level of stress and frustration during this season of life. When I think back to that time, I still feel stress rising up within me. I didn’t even know enough to understand that I had to pay money to go to the public bathroom!
And then I learned three new words: “听不懂”
These three words helped me tremendously. They took loads of communication pressure off. Suddenly, I had a bit of freedom. What do those three words mean?
“I hear you, but I don’t understand what you’re saying.”
I couldn’t understand any more than before, but suddenly I found a way to answer that relieved the pressure. Whenever I got into trouble trying to communicate (which was quite often), all I had to say was “听不懂” . That’s it! Everybody knew and accepted that the big foreigner just couldn’t speak or understand, “bless his heart!” I hear you, but I don’t understand what you’re saying.
Sometimes our lives with Jesus are this way. By reading his Word we hear His voice, but we don’t understand what He is saying to us. We want to communicate. We want to understand. But we just don’t get it.
And Jesus keeps right on talking to us. Just like the guy that used to try and sell me that scratchy toilet paper beside the road more than 23 years ago now.
But here’s where the word picture breaks down. We can’t tell Jesus “听不懂” and then just walk away from Him. We must “press on to know the Lord!” We must keep following Jesus, even when we don’t understand. We must continue trusting, even when we don’t get it.
And I have more good news for you. We’re not the only people that don’t understand what Jesus is trying to tell us. Thank God for the disciples! The guys who walked with Jesus 24/7 and still didn’t get what He was saying most of the time.
As we finish Luke 18 this Sunday, we’ll see the disciples hear some hard truth from Jesus, and not have a clue what He’s talking about. We’ll also see a blind man see and hear more clearly than everyone else around him. And the blind man’s response to Jesus will lead many others to worship Jesus too. As we look at this passage, Jesus will challenge us to keep listening. Keep trusting. And keep coming to Him by faith. And Jesus will ask us an important question too!
Do you hear me? Do you understand?
I’ll see you Sunday and tell you more!