That awkward moment when someone has asked you a question and you’re about to voice your answer when your mind goes blank. Gone. You got nothin’. You sit staring with your mouth hanging open as if to say something, a long pause ensuing while your mind scrambles to remember what it was that you were going to say and, failing at that, it then spins into contortions trying to remember what the question was that you had been asked. Ever been there?
I feel as if that’s where I’m stuck. People ask, “So how was your trip? What are you up to these days? What are your plans now that you’re home? Where are you working?” These questions send my mind scrambling for an answer that will still makes sense once it’s outside of my head. And all I can come up with is, “Uuhhhhh…I don’t know.” I have no idea how to sum up or describe the last 10 months of my life. And at this particular moment in my life, I have no job, no car, no house and not any real direction as to where I’m to head. God seems silent. “Wait. Trust,” is all I hear. I begin to panic. I am the one who plans six months in advance to be spontaneous and there is no plan! I was willing to trust when I was still packing. I expected to arrive home, enjoy Christmas with my family and then God would just start putting things together for me. I would just sit back and watch God put it all together in front of me. And though I’ve really enjoyed Christmas with my family, I’m a little panicked by the fact that “the plan” isn’t coming together. In fact, nothing’s changed! I begin to doubt. Am I not listening to You, Lord? Am I supposed to be doing something? Going somewhere? Talking to someone? WHAT AM I DOING? Feeling scared and lost, I sit down, pull my knees up to my chin and begin to sniffle. The things I thought would happen, aren’t happening. The answers I thought I’d find when I got here, aren’t here. Where are You, God?
This past Sunday, God pointed out my selfishness to me. Paul reproved the Corinthian church for being babies in their walk with God when they should have been maturing and growing. According to our pastor, they were still thinking “baby thoughts” about God. Why? Because their minds were so full of themselves and about themselves that they had no room for thoughts about God. Sound familiar? Yes. That is exactly what I was doing! I’ve been so concerned for myself and what needs I have that I’ve not been asking Him the right question. I’ve been staring at the “no job, no car, no house and no plan” and asking Him what He was going to do for me, when really I should have been focusing on Him and asking God what He wanted me to do for Him. My life was not given to me so that God can serve me. That is an arrogant and dangerous attitude. No. He redeemed my life from the grave so that I might serve Him, so that I might find in Him all that I need—peace, rest, joy, love, and guidance. The answers to my questions will not bring me security or peace. Only God living His life in me can bring those things. “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forever more!” (Ps. 16:11)
Then He reminded me of what He HAS set in front of me to do. I have the next five weeks of meetings in which I have the privilege of talking about the awesome glory and power of our God and how I’ve seen Him working this past year in Papua New Guinea. I am scrubbing the commercial kitchen of the business my grandparents are starting so that we can get our residency permit and open. He didn’t bring me to this blank space by accident. He doesn’t lead me here to the blank spaces out of spite or to frighten me but to grow me, to love me, to lead me, and to draw me closer. He can receive glory here just as well as He can from any other time in my life. He has set things before me and I am to be faithful and diligent in doing them. How exciting to be in that blank place—having nothing (not even myself!) to lean on! From there He can do anything, anywhere, anytime, anyplace He so chooses and can make me a part of it! With that being my perspective, “I don’t know” is a good place to be today!
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Pr. 3:5-6)