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Holy Spirit,
Image by kelsey_lovefusionphoto via Flickr

I want to thank my friend Tiger McLuen for running this verse through my mind this past weekend.  He was in our church to talk about Youth Ministry and he brought up a little tiny chunk of Acts that might just be the verse I need to be focused on right now.

Sometimes I feel like I can’t get a handle on what is really going on.  I feel perplexed, confused, ill equipped, and sometimes even inadequate to ever really be able to understand the work I do, the situations I find myself in or the mystery of what’s coming in the future.

I hold those feelings up against my desire to trust fully in God and in His will and I feel like I am falling short in the faith department.  If I am truly convinced that God has a fantastic plan (see Jeremiah 29:11) then why does confusion and a feeling as if it is all spinning madly out of control ever enter into my heart?  It must be a crisis of faith right?

But wait… not so fast… Let’s take a look at this verse from the earliest days of the church…

Acts 2:12

Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”

Amazed and perplexed… Yeah, I feel like that… sometimes several times a day.

The folks in Acts were feeling that way immediately after witnessing the Holy Spirit descend upon the apostles complete with fire and smoke and speaking in tonguesYou know the story.  This act of God must have been amazing in a way that we who were not there can’t even understand.  It is amazing just to read about it.  Imagine seeing it, smelling it, feeling it.

Amazing

adj
causing wonder or astonishment: amazing feats

Amazed, and perplexed… They went together in this text just as they go together in our lives.

Perplexed

verb (used with object)

1.

to cause to be puzzled or bewildered over what is not understood or certain; confuse mentally: Her strange response perplexed me.
2.

to make complicated or confused, as a matter or question.
3.
to hamper with complications, confusion, or uncertainty.
When I read this text I am not surprised that they were perplexed.  It makes sense.  They would have been nuts not to be.  After being witnesses to this amazing act of God you darn well better be perplexed.  I don’t read this as a crisis of faith on their part.  I read it as a natural result of being in the midst of God’s great work.  If it was OK for them, maybe I should cut myself a little slack.  Perhaps if I am willing to live in a world where I try to follow God to the best of my ability, where I look hard to see and acknowledge His living miracles, I had better be willing to be confused from time to time.   I have no idea how or why He does what He does.  I can never truly anticipate His outcomes.  I am always sort of plodding along in the dark, led by the Light.
Now before I go getting all comfortable with my perplexity… I need to consider the rest of the verse.
they asked one another, “what does this mean?”
Community.  they were sharing their confusion with their community.  Asking one another what it meant.  They were not attempting to figure it out on their own.  They were not hiding the fact that they did not know, did not understand.  They were in the midst of great moments, a future that would surely push them further out of their comfort zone and yet, they made it through because of the community.  They were willing to learn from the confusion.  “What does this mean?”
Not the first time that we hear from scripture that the community  is an integral part of the journey.  We see it later in Acts 2:42-44.  We see Jesus set it up for them in Luke 10:1.  People to help us recognize and confirm God’s Amazing acts in our lives.  People to share in, sort out and lift up some of the occasional confusion.  People to talk about it and help us continue to move forward in our walk.
Amazed and perplexed, YES I AM!  What do you think it all means?
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