Trusting God in the Not Knowing
Several months ago a friend asked me a hypothetical question, “If you could sit down and have coffee with Christ and ask Him one question, what would it be?” And this was part of my response:
“First things that come to mind- why does He have to allow suffering in my life, why did my dog die, did grandma repent before she died, will I be married one day, when is He coming back etc. But with all of those I keep learning to trust Him in the not knowing. So I actually wouldn't want to know the answers (besides the fact that the fruit that has come from me being before Him in prayer in any of those things or others is something I would never give away). It is precious, the wrestling I have done with Him in the moments my heart has been weakest. So I think I would not want to ask Him a question about my life.”
I did not know then that those words would soon be tested, to what I felt was at times, beyond my limit. I did not know that within weeks I would be questioning seemingly everything I had previously held so tightly to. I did not know that God was taking me into yet another season of “not knowing.”
Last Spring my health took a turn that significantly limited my physical activity for at least a month. Then I began to battle fear and anxiety. There were many moments I felt like I could not even control my brain. I cried more often than not, when we sang at church, when others prayed, or just because. The things I had always done without thinking about, suddenly became painfully outside my comfort zone. I recited verses in my head or out loud and yet nothing seemed to change. I remember distinct moments I knew nothing else to do but get on my knees and beg God for grace.
Now, there is something in me that makes me always want to know what God is teaching me. I want to be able to look at a trial and name off the things He is teaching me. In my mind, I figure if I can pinpoint what lesson the Lord wants me to learn, then 1) I will be more willing to go through it because I know its purpose, and 2) I can learn it and get out of the trial quicker.
And so this past Sunday as I sang, I started down that path again, trying to decipher what in the world the Lord may be getting at in my life. Is it purely a physical reaction my body is having? Or is it more of a spiritual battle? Is the point to expose my sin or grow my faith? Is He just wanting to grow me in compassion for others? When will it end? Or will it ever actually end in this lifetime? I did not get very far down that path before then asking/reminding myself, does it really matter? I don’t know all the whys. I haven’t known. And I think I am ok with not knowing. The answer is probably yes, in some sense, to most of those questions. But just like my response to my friend last February, will I resign myself and my curiosity to the Lord? Has He not already told me enough?
“’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are My ways,’ declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
And so as I have wrestled with truths I know, I am challenged in how I will respond. It feels so unnatural to give up my perceived control; to simply throw my hands up and say God is right. But isn’t that part of what Peter is getting at when he says, “Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God” (1 Peter 5:6)? Could it be that my desire to “know” could be a manifestation of pride?
And so I cannot just resign my will in defeat, but actively humble myself under the mighty God who created me, sustains me, and knows all things. Regardless of how much control I think I might have, it is God who rules all things and I want to be able to burst into praise with Paul:
“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor?” (Romans 11:33-34).
If I was posed with the opportunity again to ask God a question- when, why, etc., I would decline. I may not know what is going on inside my body or understand why it is happening now. But I do know who placed every star in the sky (Isaiah 40:26) and makes the sun to rise (Psalm 148:3-5). He is the One who called me before the foundations of the earth and ordained every moment of my life (Psalm 139:16). He gave His most precious Son so that I could have life eternal (Romans 8:32). And these things I do know make Him worthy of my trust, even in the not knowing.