|It’s hard when a situation doesn’t look anything like we thought it would.
Especially if you’re like me, and you like a plan. I like all involved to follow along with the plan. And I certainly don’t want any unexpected deviations from or disappointments with the plan at all, ever.
In reality, though, life is highly unpredictable. I keep bumping up against this as I walk through a long season of life not looking like I thought it would.
I suspect many of you are also facing circumstances that have left you feeling caught off-guard and unsure about what tomorrow holds.
Maybe you’re in a job where you feel unsettled, and you think that God is leading you somewhere else, but He hasn’t yet revealed what’s next. So, for now, you walk into an office every day giving it your all, but your heart feels disconnected and your real calling unfulfilled.
Or maybe you’ve been watching everyone else in your life find love, walk down the aisle, and start the life you’ve dreamed of. Then a few months ago you met someone who was everything you’ve been hoping for. You told your friends this might be the one. And then this week you felt that person pulling back. It’s hard to understand. You feel panicked. But the more you press in, the more distance you feel between the two of you.
There are thousands of scenarios that evoke these feelings of uncertainty, fear and exhaustion from life not being like you thought it would be.
Whatever your situation is, you probably feel like you can’t change it, but you still have to live through the realities of what’s happening right now. Sometimes you just have to walk in your “I don’t know.”
The Lord makes it clear in His Word that things will not always go as we wish they would in this life:
“In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33b, NIV).
“Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34b, NIV).
All this trouble is exhausting. Walking in the “I don’t know” is scary. And sometimes we can be desperate to make things easier than they really are.
We keep thinking, if we can just get through this circumstance, then life will settle down and finally the words happily ever after will scroll across the glorious scene of us skipping happily into the sunset.
But what if life settling down and all your disappointments going away would be the worst thing that could happen to you?
What if your “I don’t know” is helping you, not hurting you?
Remember those verses we just read about troubles? Here they are again in the context of the full passages:
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NIV).
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:33-34, NIV).
The crucial detail for us to have peace in the middle of everything we face is to stay close to the Lord.
We think we want comfort in the I-don’t-know times of life. But comfort isn’t a solution to seek; rather, it’s a by-product we’ll reap when we stay close to the Lord.
I wish I could promise you that everything’s going to turn out like you’re hoping it will. I can’t, of course. But what I can promise you is this: The assurance of Psalm 145:18 is true, “The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.”
Let’s cry out to God, declaring that this hard time will be a holy time, a close-to-God time. And let’s choose to believe that there is good happening, even in these places. Because wherever God is, good is being worked.
Father God, I’m forever grateful for Your presence and all that You offer me as I rest in You. More than I need You to fix anything in my life, I need You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.