When Angela's daughter was 12, she came home from school one day sporting a face full of amateurishly applied makeup. As soon as Angela was able to find her voice, she demanded, "You go upstairs right now and wash that stuff off!"

 

"But, Mom!" her daughter cried.  "All the other girls are wearing it!"

 

Angela then said something her mother used to say and she'd actually sworn she never would:  "If the rest of the girls jumped off the bridge and into the shallow water, would you?"

 

"You just don't understand!" the pre-adolescent shot back.

 

Angela pointed to the staircase. "March!" she ordered.  With her daughter halfway to the second floor of their home, Angela's shoulders dropped. 

The fact of the matter was, she DID understand.  She remembered well what it felt like to be 12, to want to grow up, to desperately want to be like the other girls and to fit in with the crowd.  It was Angela's daughter who was misunderstanding her mother, for Angela knew a few things about growing up too soon, too fast ... things her daughter wouldn't be able to grasp quite yet.

Have you ever been misunderstood? If so, you're in excellent company.  The Bible is full of examples of "misunderstandings," which in turn were used by God for some greater purpose. 

Young Joseph of the Genesis story was grossly misunderstood by his brothers, the first 10 sons of Jacob, who was also known as Israel.  Their misinterpretations of his prophetic enthusiasm led to his being sold into slavery by those Brothers Jacob. 

 

One of these brothers, Judah, had a daughter-in-law named Tamar who was also misunderstood.  When his first two sons died shortly after their marriages to her, Jacob thought it was because of some curse associated with Tamar and had her unceremoniously sent away.  This led to one of the most shocking stories found in the Bible (specifically Genesis 38) and is a vital part of the heritage of Jesus.

 

In a later story, the shepherd boy, David, was misunderstood.  The young lad simply wanted to bring food to his older brothers, who were soldiers in King Saul's army.  Sure, he was excited by what he found on the battlefront.  What boy wouldn't be? Especially one relegated to the often-lonely fields of a sheepherder. This event led to the favorite childhood Bible story known as "David and Goliath."

 

Prophets were often misunderstood ... and killed for the wrong ideas of those who listened to their godly advice.

 

Mary of Nazareth was about to join their ranks.

 

When Mary heard the news of her impending pregnancy from the angel Gabriel, she left her home in haste and headed for En Karem, the home of her relative Elizabeth, who was also "with child." At first glance, Mary's actions seem to come from a foolish "up and go" attitude. 

But knowing Mary, she was obeying the direction of the Lord, for she not only left, but also left quickly to go be with the woman she apparently loved dearly and who was considered barren.