I’m discovering firsthand what it means to dwell in the “I don’t know.” I’m learning to lean in to the Father and get comfortable with not having all the answers. God is teaching me how to trust Him, showing me how to make Him my only refuge. To rest in Him, to wait in the unknown.
It’s not in my nature to enjoy the wait. As my 6 year old reminds me with one of his favorite books by Mo Willems, “Waiting Is Not Easy!” Our culture is all about instant gratification and we have become so impatient. Waiting is an inconvenience, a cause for unrest.
“But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power…” Isaiah 40:31 (AMP)
God is worth the waiting. We can fix our eyes on Him – expecting, looking, hoping. We can be changed and renewed in the waiting, strength and power restored.
God is our portion – all that we need – so we will wait for Him.
That phrase – dwelling in the “I don’t know” – has been stirring in me for a few weeks now. And God has been giving me glimpses of hope and truth and light, to encourage me in the unknown.
For instance, on January 24th, my husband texted me a quote that our friend Sean Cannell had posted on Facebook: “Never underestimate God’s ability to take the broken pieces of your life and remold them into something beautiful.”
Later that afternoon, Bob Goff said (also on Facebook): “God uses uncertainty in our lives to remodel our hearts.”
And the next morning? Alex, the radio host on Praise 106.5, spoke between songs: “Never underestimate what God is doing in your season of waiting.”
I was blown away by God. Not only do I not listen to the radio much, but the fact that I was in the car at that exact moment to hear those exact words. And how all three tie together – don’t underestimate God and what He’s doing, how He’s working on my heart and using my brokenness, and even though I’m waiting and there’s uncertainty, He is doing something beautiful.
I’ve shared before how important music is to me, how a line from a song can be a timely reminder of God’s love. That morning after Alex spoke straight to my heart, two songs came on that spoke volumes to my soul: “You Are With Me” by Andrew Marcus, and “Held” by Natalie Grant. I’m trusting in the Faithful One who surrounds me, to be held and to be loved by Him.
The next day, I was feeling the tension between peace and uncertainty, dwelling in the unknown. My one word prayer request at Bible Study was “trust” and my prayer partner shared that trusting God requires “giving up control.” I was reminded of how much I love control; I want to be the decision-maker. I think it weighs down my spirit – the pressure of feeling like I have to make the right choice. I need to practice depending on God, relying on Him to be my true source. The future may not be what I pictured, what I had in mind. But I will trust that it will be better than what I had planned because He is better. He is greater. He sees the big picture and He holds me in His loving hands.
On the drive home, Hillary Scott’s song “Thy Will” came on the radio. Every word of that song resonated in every part of my heart.
That night I received my daily email from Christine Caine, and she said: “Elevate what you do know about God over what you don’t know about he future. He’s in control; He is for you. And when He is for you, no one can stand against you!”
Let’s dwell on Him and His character. Let’s dwell in His arms, instead of dwelling on all the unknown, the uncertainties. We can be certain of Him, of His presence and His goodness.
I changed the Scripture card on the kitchen counter, and the new one read: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). God is preparing the path, He is making a way. I might not see it yet, but I will trust Him and love Him in the midst of not knowing.
A few days go by, a few more pages in my journal fill up of God’s wondrous truth, His daily bread, His faithful provision. I have to share a quote from Lysa TerKeurst, from a post on Facebook on 1/31: “We cannot let the difficulty of our circumstances define the faithfulness of our God.” I love this! God is not defined or limited by our hardships. His faithfulness does not depend on us or what we’re going through.
Right after reading that, I stumbled across a quote from Frederick Douglass: “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” God can use our struggle, our difficulties, in so many ways. He may use it to draw us near to Him, to get us to that place of surrender. To shock us back to life, to an awareness of Him.
And then, through my Daily Bible Reading Plan (and the fact that I was a couple days behind), He gave me Job 36:15-16…
“He delivers the afflicted by their afflictions, He reveals Himself to them by their suffering. And surely, He drew you from the mouth of distress, to a wide place, unrestricted, and to the comfort of your table filled with rich food.”
He delivers us, the afflicted, by our afflictions. He reveals Himself to us in the midst of our suffering. In the unknown, He makes Himself known.
“We wait for the LORD. He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts find joy. In His holy name we trust. Let Your mercy rest on us, O LORD, since we wait with hope for You.” – Psalm 33:20-22 (GW)
We wait for Him, our help and shield. As Hillsong’s “I Will Exalt You” declares, He is our hiding place, our safe refuge. In Him we find joy, in His name we trust.
At Bible Study we’re going through Beth Moore’s “Children of the Day” series on 1 & 2 Thessalonians. In Thursday’s video session, she said: “In all our distress and affliction – that’s when they get the good news! … In all that hurting comes a healing.”
Good news is delivered in our distress. Healing comes when we’re hurt.
I hear the song “Always” performed by Shane and Shane. It says “He will not delay, my refuge and strength always. I will not fear, His promise is true. My God will come through, always…”
Another quote from Lysa TerKeurst catches my eye on Facebook: “Trusting God without seeing solutions is hard. But that’s the fertile soil where faith grows.”
God is working in the unknown, in the unseen, in the waiting. Even if it’s just in our hearts and not our circumstances, He can perform a miracle in the mess. He can transform us from the inside out. He can teach us to trust Him.
It’s during this part of my journaling journey that I read chapters 7-9 of Rebekah Lyons’ new book, You Are Free. Those three chapters are titled Free to Begin Again, Free to Wait, Free to Rest. Nearly every other line is underlined, and I can’t get over how much I feel like the words were written specifically for me. (How grateful I am to be on this book launch team! Pre-order your copy today!)
Rebekah had shared part of Matthew 11:28-30 in the Message, and the whole thing is like a breath of fresh air…
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Jesus beckons us to come, to come now! No matter what we’re facing, the invitation stands. He calls us to cease from movement and to find our strength in Him. To remain in Him and be refreshed. To take a much needed intermission from the burdens of this life and rest with Him. To learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
“Cease striving and know that I am God…” – Psalms 46:10 (NASB)
He’s asking me to stop all my striving and know Him. He’s calling me to let go of what I know, my routine, and make time and space for Him, for the unknown, for the new. His arms are wide open for me to run into, to rest, abide, breathe.
It’s not unnatural for me to be okay with not knowing what the future holds. We like to know. We think we do know. Maybe we forget that we’re not God and we’re not in control and we’re not seated on the throne. Better than “knowing” my future (whether it be tomorrow or 10 years from now), I’m realizing that it’s better to know God and to be known by Him.
“But whoever loves God is known by God.” – 1 Corinthians 8:3 (NIV)
“But if one loves God truly [with affectionate reverence, prompt obedience, and grateful recognition of His blessing], he is known by God [recognized as worthy of His intimacy and love, and he is owned by Him].” – 1 Corinthians 8:3 (AMP)
I found an article online by John Piper, in which he said, “Deeper than knowing God is being known by God. What defines us as Christians is not most profoundly that we have come to know Him but that He took note of us and made us His own.”
What an amazing Father in Heaven we have – whether life is calm or stormy, happy or hard, peaceful or challenging, He has taken note of us. Even when we dwell in the unknown, we can know Him and be known by Him.
I want to leave you with Exodus 2:25, a verse from my Daily Reading plan that jumped off the page at me…
“God saw the Israelites, and God understood….” – Exodus 2:25 (NET)
“God saw the Israelites and took knowledge of them and concerned Himself about them [knowing all, understanding, remembering all].” – Exodus 2:25 (AMP)
When we’re wrestling, struggling, oppressed, heartbroken, afflicted… when we’re dwelling in the “I don’t know”… He sees us. His eye is on us. He takes notice. And He understands.