The word "to understand" means this:
to perceive the meaning of; grasp the idea of; comprehend
Yes, that about covers it for me. This is exactly what I have trying to do: to comprehend what the Lord wants me to do in light of my present circumstance as well as with the rest of my life. Oh, my...talk about a difficult process to undergo. I can't tell you how many times I cried out to the Lord, asked for clarification, and then walked away THINKING I got it, only to find that moments later it was gone! LOL! I cringed when I had to ask again, as if I wasn't paying attention the first time around. Though I think I really was paying attention, I simply think it is a fact of the matter -- the truth God shares with us is difficult to comprehend.
Paul said it this way in Romans 11:34 (quoting Isaiah 40:13):
"Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?"
The writer of Ecclesiastes said this:
When I applied my mind to know wisdom and to observe man's labor on earth—his eyes not seeing sleep day or night- then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all his efforts to search it out, man cannot discover its meaning. Even if a wise man claims he knows, he cannot really comprehend it. ~Eccl. 8:16-17
In short, simply trying to comprehend the Lord is a difficult and weighty task. We cannot ever conceive to know the mind of God. We can, however, learn from Him. He can choose to reveal His will for our lives and then allow us to understand (to know it). Very often, men and women seek to know this from the Lord, but rarely do they stick it out, do they stand with Him until He is ready to reveal it. So many times people want to know 'the short of it" (as I often say). They want the quick and easy answer, the "just go here and do this for me" from the Lord. I will admit that I wanted that too. In fact, I probably asked him (or told Him) to just "tell me what to do and where to go" about one hundred times. Guess what? He didn't do it. Nope, He would say "Trust Me" and then leave it at that.
I think the reason He did this with me was to help me understand that when the Lord speaks, we are to listen to Him. Do you remember that old commercial..."When E.F. Hutton speaks; people listen." It was a play on an Ernest Hemmingway quote: "When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen," but it got the point across. Most people never listen. Hemmingway was correct in that ditty. I know that I don't even listen fully when someone speaks to me. I am so busy getting my thoughts in order so that I can jump in at the first breath. I am more concerned with what I think, then with what others have to say.
The Lord is this way with us as well. His words are vital to our understanding. He wants us to comprehend what He is telling us to do. He wants us to know the truth, but often we don't listen closely enough or long enough or with a full attentive spirit. We run off half-cocked before He has explained everything to us. No wonder we miss the boat so many times, no wonder we goof up all the time. If we would only sit and listen, listen carefully, we would then hear what the Spirit is saying to us. We would make far fewer mistakes, far fewer errors in judgement, and suffer far less heartache and sorrow.
I learned my lesson this time (hopefully now for a while) and grasped the significance of what the Lord wanted me to know. He wants me to come to Him, but not run in and out. He wants me to come and sit awhile and listen to Him speak to me. He doesn't get upset or lose His patience at all. No, He just waits and waits and waits. Then perhaps after we get really, really frustrated and come back to Him, He will start again. Hopefully, we will give Him our full attention the second time (or third or hundredth, like me).
My prayer today is that I would be still and let Him speak to me. My prayer is that I would not be so quick to speak, but that I would be ready to listen. My prayer is for me to focus on the Words of the Lord and then take them to heart. I don't want to mess up. I don't want to end up missing His Precious Boat (the boat He has waiting for me to board). I don't want to miss a great opportunity to be with Him, to serve with Him, and to Glorify Him...simply because I couldn't control my thoughts and my time and come sit with Him. May it never be. Amen, so be it.