Living in the Question Mark

In high school, we were faced with the question of college.
What should I do? Where should I go? What should I major in? Should I even go to college?
One must overcome the thought of everyone’s expectations and figure out what is right for them. It can be a very stressful time until you reach a decision.

You get to college (if that’s what you’ve decided is right for you), and you’re faced with a brand new set of circumstances to which you must adjust: attending classes, keeping up with the work, a whole new level of responsibility.
As you approach graduation, more questions arise.
What am I going to do now? Where will I go? What will I do?

Maybe you’ve met someone…THE one.
Is this person right for me? Should we get married? Where will we live? How will we make it?

Life is full of questions, some bigger than others.
Usually, it’s uncomfortable and stressful for a while until the answer comes, then we move on….

But what happens when you’re stuck?

You’ve asked, “What do I do now?” ….and there seems to be no answer.
Now what?

Let me just get real with you for a minute.

I’ve asked, “What now, Lord?” many times in my life.
He showed me very plainly what to do about college (and totally messed up my own plans, by the way).
While in college, He brought me the man I would share my life with and He let me know very plainly that he was the one who has been made just for me.
We were married and God showed Justin very plainly that he should take our church and become a pastor.

When faced with a major life event, God has always been very clear in His answer and given me direction and/or instructions….until a few years ago.

I found out when I was 16 that the likelihood of my ever having children was slim at best, but in the back of my mind, I always believed God would work a miracle and this would never be an issue.
I knew He was well able to do just that, so I assumed that was the way it would go.

After we had been married about 6 months, I started getting antsy.
You may be thinking, “6 months is not a long time,” and you’d be right, but since I was a little girl, more than I wanted to be a wife, I wanted to be a mother. So yes, I was ready after 6 months. I was already 24 after all. (I laugh at this now, but it was serious business then.)
My best friend was expecting her first baby and we had always talked about having kids together. We had gotten married 6 months apart and everything had just fallen into place. Now I was ready for my baby.
I distinctly remember praying, “Lord, thank You for everything You’ve already done and already given me…but we are ready to have a family. Will you please give us children now?”
There was no lightning and thunder from Heaven. There was no audible voice or even a still, small voice at that time. I heard nothing.
God gave me peace, but no answer.
I knew He had everything under control, but I did not like the silence.
I became depressed and cried all.the.time.
As my best friend got closer to her due date, I couldn’t even see her some days without breaking down.
I didn’t want to leave my house. Many days, I never even left my bed. I’d lay there with the covers pulled around me and cry.
Time passed.
We celebrated our first anniversary. My best friend’s little man was born 3 days later. A lot of our friends got married and news started breaking of babies on the way. We had our second anniversary. My best friend had another little guy. Our newly married friends were expecting again. I went to baby shower after baby shower after baby shower….and I wouldn’t make it home before the tears would come.
Those were the “dark days.”
Days, weeks, months, years of tissues, mascara streaks, migraine headaches, and silence from Heaven.
When God finally broke the silence, it wasn’t the response I was looking for or expecting. He simply told me to Trust Him.
That was it. “Trust Me.”

Things are better today because He is teaching me to trust Him more and more…but with that being the only answer I’ve received, I still feel stuck at times.
I’ve asked…but I’m stuck in the question mark.

Your details may be totally different than mine.
You may be younger and are at the “What am I supposed to do with my life?” stage.
You may have thought you’d be married by now, but there’s still no one in sight.
Maybe you were married and for one reason or another, you aren’t married anymore.
Maybe your hands and house are so full, you’re completely overwhelmed.
Maybe you got an unexpected diagnosis from the doctor.

We all live in a world filled with questions, and no matter where you are or who you are, everyone is familiar with, “What now?”

Between the asking and the answer lies the question mark. Sometimes, whether we like it or not, we have to camp out there for a while and wait.
The earth continues to revolve, yet we are stuck waiting.
So, what do we do?

Pray.
When we are made to wait, we realize how thin our patience truly is. It’s easy to get upset and throw in the towel or shoot off at the mouth because of our circumstances. Don’t give place to the devil and say or do something God will whip you over. Ask Him for help and peace while you’re waiting.

Read.
The biggest source of help and comfort will come from God’s Word. Dig into it and ask Him to make it come alive in your heart. Listen to Him as He speaks to you.
Also, try to get your hands on some books written by saints of God who have already walked through times of suffering and silence. Let God encourage you through their experiences. (I would recommend anything written by Charles or Susannah Spurgeon.)

Live.
Don’t shut down because you’re stuck in a question mark. This one has been hard for me because that is my initial response: to bury my face and hide. I’ve learned the hard way that shutting down doesn’t help. Get out there. Smile. Laugh. Help others. Be a good testimony in spite of your circumstances. We have such a short time on this earth to make a difference for the cause of Christ. Don’t waste time burying yourself in a mountain of pity. As Christians, we’re going to give an account for how we spend our time. Don’t have to hang your head at the Judgment Seat because you stopped living when things were difficult.

Love.
Love God. He’s worthy of our affection and attention and everything we have…whether He ever gives us the answer we’re looking for or not.
Love one another. People all around us are hurting. They need to see the love of God in us and they need to hear, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (‭John‬ ‭3‬:‭16‬) They need to know that there is hope in Jesus.

We may not enjoy living in the question mark, but God has us there for a reason. Be faithful to what you know and trust The Lord for what you don’t know.
“….Oh, for grace to trust Him more.”

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