2 Corinthians 4:8 ESV
2 Corinthians 4:7-12 ESV
Daniel 5:9 (Illustration) in English and in Hebrew
Are you Bumfuzzled? Are you sometimes bewildered, confused, or perplexed?
As I sit down to write this I am bumfuzzled.
That’s not at all unusual. That’s not really because I can’t think of what to write. I’ve been a writer all my life and in college my degree was communication. It was very writing intensive. As it turned out, when I later went to Seminary I found the writing ‘practice’ from college was easy in comparison. My language in college was Spanish and the final course was in Spanish Composition. I attended a large university and every course was a challenge.
I remember taking a P.E. course in college and I thought while the physical requirement might be difficult, I was sure the written component would ‘carry me’.
I was so wrong.
The physical requirements were difficult because I was forty years old and my classmates were around 20 years old. Even so I was in good physical condition and I was able to do the work.
On the other hand, the written exams were much more difficult than I expected. The tests were comparable to a human anatomy course! My ‘easy’ P.E. class turned out to be a very difficult course!
Seminary coursework was so much more difficult than college that I was surprised. I knew it would be graduate level work, but I didn’t expect so much reading and constant writing. In comparison, the writing I’d done in college was extremely easy.
Seminary is a very long program (144 hours) and there are many segments that have to be mastered. The language component was difficult. We could either study Koine Greek or Ancient Hebrew. I chose Hebrew. Once again the final course had a writing component.
It was crazy hard. The best way I can describe how overwhelmed I felt was something the Apostle Paul wrote.
In 2 Corinthians 4:8 he reminded the believers in Corinth, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair.”
THAT is exactly how I felt when I started studying Hebrew.
I was bumfuzzled!
Hebrew Grammar was the most difficult course I've taken in my life. I was completely perplexed.
I was in despair during the entire course. By some miracle I was able to complete the course with a passing grade. It wasn’t a good grade, but I was grateful I passed!
The problem I faced is that now I had to advance to Hebrew 4…composition.
I had studied Hebrew longer and harder than anything else I had faced in my life.
I knew if I failed Hebrew everything else…all the years of studying in Seminary could be futile.
I felt confused and perplexed. I wondered why I was in Seminary. I knew God called me to go to Seminary, and I questioned the reason why. Why did you put me here God?
Surely it wasn’t so I would fail because I couldn’t learn Hebrew?
I thought about Paul’s words to the church in Corinth. I had memorized part of this passage when I was younger and through the years it gave me hope when I was in despair.
I had studied for six years and now I was desperate. I was so confused.
In 2 Corinthians 4:7-12 Paul wrote, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.”
It may seem strange, but at the time it felt like I was facing the most difficult test of my life (to that point at least). I did not do well in Hebrew 3, and I honestly did not know how I could succeed in passing Hebrew Composition.
I was at a loss. I was praying and I continued to pray as I faced Hebrew Composition. I was afflicted. felt like I was struck down. I WAS utterly perplexed.
I still felt like God wanted me to enroll in Hebrew 4. So I enrolled and I waited.
Then, as the time drew near and I received information about the course, I noticed a different professor was teaching Hebrew 4.
I didn’t know it till later but God provided a way. God gave me a miracle. It wasn’t just a small miracle. It was a game-changer miracle.
The new professor was an older gentleman. I was in my late fifties at the time and he probably had ten years on me. Most of the course work at the start and at the end was completed online. Through the first weeks of the class I studied really hard every night after work (I also worked a full-time job while I was in Seminary). We had intensive classroom time scheduled on campus mid-way through the course.
I was really nervous as I traveled to Seminary for the on-site portion of the class. I knew if I didn’t do well I ran the risk of not completing this degree. I had studied more and worked harder than anything else in my life. I didn’t know how to pray because I was desperate. I just said to God, “help me God to pass.”
I arrived on-site and the day I walked into Hebrew 4, I knew God was with me. Each day I was there, I was given a miracle.
With God’s help the older and very very wise professor opened doors to my mind. As I listened each day God breathed life into the ancient Hebrew language. Everything I studied in Hebrew 1, 2, and 3 made sense.
I WAS a miracle.
I wrote compositions in Hebrew. I even understood Hebrew Grammar that I had nearly failed to understand.
I got a straight A in Hebrew Composition.
I was afflicted but not crushed. I was perplexed but not driven to despair.
Today, I love Hebrew. It is a marvelous living thing and I love studying it now. By God’s miraculous grace (and a really gifted very very wise professor), the ancient words came to life!
And God is good…very very good.
Spiritual Practice: Pray
Are you perplexed about something? Ask God to show you the way.
In God, Deborah