If I just knew what to do I’d do it. Have you ever found yourself making that statement, or at least, something similar to it? My grandparents used to say, “If I had a nickel for every time someone said ‘x’ I’d be rich.” Now I know what they meant.
The truth is, it’s an extremely common feeling and shared expression amongst human beings at large.
As vastly different as we can be from one person to the next, one culture to the next, or one generation to the next, we all remain connected by a brutal, yet undeniably true fact of life that each of us will endure times where we simply don’t know what to do.
Helpless, frustrated, confused, and anxious are just a few of the words I’ve used in the past to describe these desperate moments in life. While our willingness to do “whatever it takes” to turn the situation or season around is at an all-time high, so is our lack of clarity and direction. And you know what’s even more maddening?
Once the current season of cluelessness is over, another one awaits.
At first I blamed the devil. That didn’t work as it only led to more confusion. Then, I blamed myself. That didn’t work either as it led to depression (and the last thing one needs during these perplexing times is a self-induced emotional add-on). Finally, as a last ditch effort, I considered maybe the culprit could be God, and if it was, I realized there not only had to be a greater purpose attached, but also a better way to proceed through it, and perhaps, even some lessons to be learned from it. Long story short, it was God and there were, thankfully, a few lessons to be learned that serve as “wilderness defaults” during present seasons of “wandering”. I want to share those with you. Before I do, however, please understand my list is not fancy, deep, or exhaustive, but it has proven to be effective. I hope you find the same encouragement in it that I have and use it as a foundation to build your own set of defaults (and share them with me so we can help each other…deal?). Without any further ado, here you go:
1. Be Still
Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God”. Being still is one of the hardest things in the world to do, especially when navigating a time of “wandering”. Let’s get real. Who actually thinks it’s a good idea to “’stop” in the middle of hell, or at minimum, a situation that feels like it? The answer is nobody. Although contrary to the “do something” message resonating throughout every cell of our being, the call to “be still” remains. We should find encouragement in the irrevocable call instead of discouragement because it has been fastened to a divine motive: knowing that He is God. For this reason, I’m convinced God Himself is the orchestrator of such seasons in our lives. He desires for us to truly and fully know Him. Not the religious Him, but the real Him. He is the Creator of the cosmos, the Architect of the heavens and the earth, the Designer of destiny, and the One who sent His only begotten Son to die on our behalf as the ultimate expression of His love for us. When you get still, you position yourself to know who He really is, and soon enough, you awaken to the realization…
He has it ALL under (His) control even when it feels like it’s out of (your) control.
2. Be Patient
My pastor often says, “What the devil can’t stop, God will accelerate”. What brilliant and much needed truth to cling to, especially when walking through a time of bewilderment that’s full of more questions than answers. During these periods, it’s easy to fall into the trap of impatient advancement and justify it by calling it ambition.
When we do this (seeking shortcuts or a “fast track” out of our discomfort), we may just be doing to our own demise as we run the risk of not only moving in the wrong direction, ultimately keeping us stuck, but also of missing out on the opportunity to show God we love Him through our waiting.
I Corinthians 13 is the great and well-known “love” chapter of the Bible. It offers a clear-cut, flawless definition of love. Most of us know the chapter and list well, but for those that don’t, I want to highlight it, and more specifically, it’s opening definition: Love is patient. However, I want to do it a little bit different. Typically, when reading this chapter and the list provided, the majority of us read it from the context of loving others. Some may even go a step further and read it from the context of loving ourselves. But, how many of us view it in the context of loving God? We are told, after all, the first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength (Matthew 22:36-38) right? So, what does it look like to love God according to I Corinthians 13? For the sake of time, we’ll leave the entire list to your personal study/devotion, but let’s take a look at loving God with Patience.
Loving God with patience says, “God, I’ll love you enough to wait on you…even though I don’t understand what you’re doing”.
It chooses the discomfort of wandering (and waiting) with God rather than the comfort of “having-it-all-together” without Him. It is the ultimate display of trust, the firmest foundation in any meaningful relationship. It expresses an expression similar to David in Psalms 16, “Lord, I have chosen you alone as my inheritance. You are my prize, my pleasure and my portion. I leave my destiny and it’s timing in your hands. (Psalm 16:5 TPT).” When we surrender to waiting, when we choose to take a posture of patience, when we open our hands with arms spread wide releasing our timing to Him, we are saying (and showing)….
“Father, I Love You this much.”