“Ah-ha!” Moments

“Ah-ha!” Moments April 14, 2024

Ah-ha!” Moments

Have you ever had an “Ah-ha!” moment? An “Ah-ha!” moment is that split second when you finally understand the conundrum you’ve been beating your head against for days, weeks, months, or years. For me, it was chemistry. I had a chemistry teacher, Stewart Miller, who worked on the Manhattan Project, and he knew all things chemistry like the back of his hand.

I tried; I really did. I tried to understand how it worked, why math was important, and why exact measurements mattered. My experiments never worked the way they were supposed to, and on more than one occasion, I almost blew up the chemistry wing. Mr. Miller, like the master teacher he was, would take the time, change up his explanations, and bring things to sports metaphors that most of us understood. Then, one day, it hit like a bolt of lightning! I understood! It was plain as 2 + 2! I saw the ramp-up to the problem, the dance of the ingredients, the timing, and the final elegance of getting a full-blown equation. After I got it, Mr. Miller asked a simple but important question. ‘So, what are you going to do with the information?”

Now What?

What do you do once you’ve had your “Ah-ha!” moment? Well, there are several choices.

  • You can simply say to yourself, “Wow! I finally got the answer! Whew… that was tough! Now, what is the answer to this question?” and you go on to ponder a new issue.
  • Or you can revel in the answer for a time, looking at it again and again like a Monet on the wall. You can study its beauty, its composition, and its architecture. Then, after you’ve dissected every aspect of its makeup, you walk away with a satisfied smile, knowing you solved one of the biggest problems you’ve ever faced.
  • Or you can do something with the information you’ve just deciphered. I mean, there’s typically a practical reason why you were trying to figure out the problem in the first place, right? So now you go to the next logical step and implement what you’ve learned—like mixing up a batch of sodium chloride.
Public Domain
When Jesus entered the locked room, the followers still didn’t fully understand what was happening—that is until Jesus lifted the veil.

Jesus and His “Ah-ha!” Moment

When Jesus came back to His disciples in the upper room, he gave them their biggest “Ah-ha!” moment:

He said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.” Then, He opened their minds to understand the scriptures. And He said to them, “Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And [behold] I am sending the promise of my Father upon you but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high (Luke 24: 44-49).

Jesus had spent three years with them—day in, day out, week in, week out, month in, month out—but they never put two and two together. They knew he was working through the Old Testament like a checklist:

  • Heal the sick-Check!
  • Raise the dead-Check!
  • Create food out of thin air-Check!

But they didn’t understand why he was doing it. They knew He was special. They believed He was the Chosen One, but they didn’t know for what. Suddenly, “He opened their minds to understand the scriptures.” and POOF! Jesus allowed understanding of all He was, of all He came for, of all He meant to humans and the world.

Public Domain
Nothing could stop the Disciples from preaching once the veil of understanding was lifted!

Was There Follow-Through?

So, did the Disciples follow through after the “Ah-ha!” moment? In a word, “Yes!” and then some. Remember, Jesus “opened their minds” to how He fulfilled the Old Testament. Look at Peter; he lays it right out there. In the Acts of the Apostles, he tells the crowd at Solomon’s Portico first how they murdered an innocent man, not just an innocent man but the “Holy and Righteous One” (Acts 3: 14). Peter doesn’t pull any punches. He tells them, “The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this, we are witnesses” (Acts 3: 15). He then goes on to give a litany of where Jesus is in the Old Testament. The people of Jesus’s day would have known every one of the instances that Peter is telling them by heart and realized how Jesus fits into the recipe.

Peter, Paul, John, both James and the rest of the Disciples fulfilled Jesus’s “Ah-ha” moment and more. They fulfilled it right up to their deaths.

What About Us?

We, too, have “Ah-ha!” moments of faith, just like the Disciples. Their “Ah-ha!” moments came while Jesus was with them. Jesus is also near us but in Spirit. Our “Ah-ha!” moments in faith are called conversion. Many of us wrestle with what is right and wrong, like measuring a solution by sight and not measuring. It isn’t until we let go and let God that we finally get the “Ah-ha!” moment. During Eastertide, look at what you don’t understand and then let go of it. Let God take over and let Him “open your mind to understand…”


About Ben Bongers KM
Ben Bongers was an international operatic tenor and practicing sommelier for 30 years based in San Francisco, CA, and Europe. He has written monthly articles for trade magazines in wine and singing over a long and lustrous career. After becoming a semi-full-time caretaker for his parents, he earned an MA in Gerontology (the study of aging and care) and was asked to publish in an eldercare textbook in 2020. He has written several books, all published by EnRoute Books and Media. His first novel, THE SAINT NICHOLAS SOCIETY, has won many awards, and his other two, TRUE LOVE—12 Christmas Stories My True Love Gave to Me, and THE FARMER, THE MINER, THE ARTISAN (a children’s book) are both up for writing awards. Ben is a Knight in the Order of Malta and helped start an overnight homeless shelter at his San Francisco, CA parish. Today, he is a Permanent Diaconate Candidate in Kansas City, MO. You can read more about the author here.

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