But they understood none of these things. [Jesus’] saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said. [Luke 18:34]
Jesus often spoke in parables to confound those who were “ever seeing but never perceiving” [Matthew 13:13 NIV]. But in Luke 18, He told the disciples exactly what would happen to Him in Jerusalem: imprisonment, torture, death, and then resurrection. However, despite the plain and direct speech, complete understanding was not immediate. The disciples did not know how the story would play out, and so the meaning of Jesus’ words were “hidden.”
I confess that I so often want to know the entirety of what it is that God is teaching me in the moment. I want immediate understanding: “Such-and-such happened this morning; it’s now evening, so I should understand God’s full purpose for it.” But, if Christ’s simple and direct words were not grasped in the moment by His closest and ever-present companions, I ought to expect that my own understanding of the intended purpose of my life’s happenings will grow over time and not be instantaneous.
As I look back 20 years, I recall events that, in the immediate aftermath, left me questioning their purpose for my faith journey. But new layers of meaning have been revealed progressively by the Spirit since then: sometimes in momentary bursts of revelation, and sometimes as they gradually weave together with new events and knowledge into the rich tapestry of life. God has graciously given richer, broader, and fuller understanding through the passage of time and the unfolding of my story.
If this desire for immediacy resonates with you, take heart! If you do not understand fully the meaning of an event, be encouraged that—like the disciples—God will help you grasp the hidden meaning as you walk with Him into the future.