When You Don’t Understand

“So Pretty,” he said.

Joe smiled as he looked into Ronda’s eyes and whispered those words, gently brushing back the curl that fell in front of her face….AND THAT IS HOW THE ARGUMENT STARTED. 🙂

Not really…but those were fighting words at our house! You see, what started as a playful competition in which one of us would say, “I am the smart one. You are the pretty one,” morphed into one of us saying, “so pretty” when the other said or did something that was not really smart.

Now I am not saying which of us is actually which, but I will include this picture…Joe is mighty pretty in it!

It pains me to admit that Joe said, “So pretty” to me more often than I said it to him. If I ever had a blonde moment or just could not wrap my brain around a concept, it seemed as though Joe was always there to witness it. Bless my heart!

This week, Joe’s message is about a different lack of understanding. He writes about times when we do not understand the circumstances of this life, and how we might find peace in our lack of understanding.

He wrote:

Who is the Smart One?

We think we are so smart! We think we can come up with an answer for everything, but really what we don’t know outweighs what we do know. We watch the news, read the paper, peruse the internet and think about how silly other people are behaving, when we really don’t know why others do the things they do. We might even think those things about folks right here in the neighborhood. But the bottom line is that we just don’t understand.

Contrary to popular belief, peace doesn’t really come from our understanding. In fact, God never once said we will understand everything. 

Isaiah 55: 8-9 states: “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways’, says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.’”

We have to accept the fact that we don’t understand everything. Scripture says that we are not supposed to–and that, in itself ,should be a relief to us. We may not understand why, but God does. While His ways may cause us to question sometimes, one thing He will never do is abandon us, even as we ask why things have to be the way they are.

In Proverbs 3: 5-6 it states: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths”.

There is a promise right there in those verses that if we surrender our lives to Him, he will make our paths straight. He will lead, guide and direct us. 

We don’t have to have it all figured out. We don’t have to have all the answers. We can trust God to take care of the things that just don’t make sense to us. 

To me, one of the most wonderful things about being a Christian is that we don’t have to worry about being the smart one, because God himself is the smartest. 

There will come a day when we will understand everything clearly because God will show us. Until then, though, it is our responsibility to let God do his job and handle things. 

So, if there is something going on in your life right now that you just do not understand, or something that frightens you or causes you pain, I want you to think about the promises God makes in Proverbs 3. If you will believe Him and if you will place your trust in Him, He will direct your path. He really is the smartest one.


Joe LOVED to tell the joke that when we got married he threw away his existing set of encyclopedias because he married someone who knew everything. I mean…he wasn’t wrong. 🙂

I don’t know everything, but I do love to try to find out when I don’t know.

Google changed my life! Perhaps it is the teacher in me…or perhaps I am just nosey….but I need to know the answers. I need to know the reason why. I cannot tell you how many times I “google it” during a day’s time. When my students ask me something and I don’t have the answer, I look it up. My search history reveals some pretty random topics. If I want to know, I do the research!

Eight weeks ago, however, I realized in a big way that sometimes there are no answers. For a person who has made a career out of questions and answers, that has been a tough pill to swallow.

As I continue to navigate the waves of grief, I find that there is no pattern. I have good days and bad days. Just when I think that maybe the worst is over, I find myself under a fresh wave, choking and sputtering out the question that is never far from my lips…WHY? However, as waves typically do, I am eventually tossed back onto the sand, where I catch my breath and try again.

This week marked two months since Joe left this earth and also his first birthday spent in Heaven. In all honesty, I have spent many hours lately underwater.

Then, just as he has done so many times, Joe delivers THIS message. The one that speaks directly to my heart, and hopefully to yours as well. And so I breathe it in, because (as usual) Joe is exactly right.

There are sweet, sweet promises in Proverbs 3: 5-6. We do not have to have the answers. We only have to trust in the One who does. When we let ourselves lean on God, He will take us by the hand and lead us in the right direction. I don’t know where you are or what you are facing. Maybe you are like me and feel the need to know the answers. Listen to me, sweet friend…this I know for sure. Ask away…the answer is always Jesus.

Joe said that there will come a day when we will understand. Oh, friend, how I long for that day, when all will be made new, when upside down will finally be right side up. Like Joe said, though, until then, we have to let God do his job and handle things. God is good at being God. Even when we don’t understand.

So, let’s keep putting one foot in front of the other. Let’s trust Him to guide our paths, both when they are smooth and when they are not. I’ll gladly hold your hand when you stumble. But better than that, Jesus has your hand right how and He will never let it go.

Even when I don’t understand, I am going to do my job and let God do His, knowing that by making that choice, one day I will look into the eyes of my Joe and my Jesus…and that will indeed be SO, SO PRETTY.

-Words of Wisdom from The Book of Joe

3 thoughts on “When You Don’t Understand

  1. Ronda, once again, thank you and thank you Joe. Lately I have felt neither pretty not smart. As I rapidly approach the tenth anniversary of my mom’s death, I’m becoming more and more aware of my faith and trust shortcomings. My grief still feels as fresh as it did ten years ago…I fluctuate between deep sorrow at what she has missed these past ten years in our family and raging anger at her leaving. I finally, after reading Joe’s lesson, realize it’s because I don’t understand…I want to know WHY!! She was my mentor, my rock, my best friend…much more than just my mom. Please pray that I will learn this lesson from Joe…to let God do His job and accepting that not knowing why is my job for now.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rhonda, you and Joe were blessed with words to explain how you feel. This is a talent given by God. Enjoyed this so much. I know Joe is missed so much by so many. God bless you and Joe’s family.

    Liked by 1 person

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