I do not understand all that I know. I wish I did.

I know laws of math and science but I do not understand all of them. I know psychological terms and principles but I do not understand all of them. I know the Bible and can quote much of the Scripture but I do not understand all of them.

I don’t understand why good people sometimes do bad things and bad people do good things. I don’t always understand why some people prosper and others perish. I don’t understand why bad things happen to good people. I don’t understand why people hate other people- for any reason. I don’t understand why God is so patient with us.

Throughout my life I have had the opportunity to meet and know people who do not think like me and many of them do not look like me. I have had the experience of traveling to places with customs and behaviors that are foreign to me. I live in a very diverse neighborhood with 81 other families. The folks who live near me come from all over the United States and several other countries.

I was brought up in a church that taught me the love of God and the grace and forgiveness of Jesus. I was taught to love God and love people. I understood that meant all people.

I listen to music on the first half of my morning walk and then on my return home I listen to an audio reading of the Bible. One recent morning the reading was from the Book of Acts. Chapter 10 tells the story of Peter, a Jew, and Cornelius, a Gentile. Jews of that time were not supposed to have anything to do with non-Jews (Gentiles) but a strange and wonderful thing happened.

Cornelius was a good and religious man who was neither Jewish nor Christian. Peter was a good Jew who had come to believe in Jesus and was a follower of The Way. God spoke to both of them and they both were obedient to the instructions given to them by God. The captain of the Italian Guard that was stationed in Caesarea had a vision and an angel of God, “as real as his next-door neighbor,” told him to send for Peter. So he sent three men to summon Peter from Joppa.

While Cornelius’ men are on the way Peter had a vision and God spoke to him with instructions that were contrary to his religious upbringing. This devout Jew struggled with what he was being told to do but finally gave in to what seemed right. So when these emissaries from Cornelius arrived Peter went with them.

When they arrived in Caesarea, Cornelius greeted Peter and invited him into his house. Peter said, “I’m sure that this is highly irregular. Jews just don’t do this—visit and relax with people of another race. But God has just shown me that no race is better than any other.”

Peter asked Cornelius why he had sent for him and Cornelius explained the vision and instructions he had received from God. Then “Peter fairly exploded with his good news: ‘It is God’s own truth, nothing could be plainer: God plays no favorites! It makes no difference who you are or where you’re from—if you want God and are ready to do as he says, the door is open’.” (Acts 10:34-36, The Message)

There is so much about this story that I don’t understand. But one thing that I do know- God can do what God wants to do and God loves everyone. One other thing- I am supposed to love everyone too.

Jamie Jenkins