Do you ever find yourself asking God questions that leave you feeling more despair than hope?
Though God has done some amazing things in our midst over the past year, we’ve also experienced our share of heartache and despair. Certain battles raged, the enemy flaunted our disappointments in our face, and the sense of loss threatened to swallow me alive.
While I don’t want to go into the details of my heartbreak, I will say I learned something very valuable that I never want to forget. Perhaps it’ll help you too.
When in the midst of my disappointments I’d stare at the barren field that was supposed to be flush and fruitful and wonder aloud, Why didn’t this field produce fruit? How did this happen? I planted seeds. I watered them with the Word. I lived by faith. Why am I not seeing the results I pictured in my head? What happened, Lord?
I don’t know about you, but I’ve realized that those kinds of questions suck the life right out of me. Though God invites us to pray all kinds of prayers in every situation because He delights in every detail of our lives, for me, at least, certain kinds of prayers leave me feeling more burdened, not less so.
In fact, maybe they’re not really prayers at all but more so misdirected questions.
On the flip side, when I step back from my barren field and I look up; when I remind myself of whose I am and Who He is, something in me changes. The Spirit-life within me flutters and awakens once again.
When I let go of my ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions and I realize they’re not for me to ask right now, I’m able to find my place of peace once again.
Years ago my son Luke said these wise words to me, “Mom, I’ve learned that the ‘how’ question isn’t ours to ask because it isn’t ours to answer. The how is always God’s to perform as He will. It’s our job to show up and to do what He says. And the why question is for young children who don’t know how to wait or trust. At some point we have to grow up and trust Him with our whys.”
Okay, so his wise insights left me dumbfounded.
I’ve found that the questions that bring me life are these…
Will you remind me again, Lord, who am I to you.
Jesus, will You reveal Yourself to me in this place?
What does obedience look like here, Lord?
What are You saying to me right here, right now?
What am I clinging to that I need to let go of, so I can lay hold of more of You?
Is there any anxious way in me? Point out anything in me that offends You, Lord.
What impossible thing do You want to accomplish in and through me, Lord?
I’m telling you, what! The Lord makes strong and secure promises to us. He loves us with an everlasting love. And He loves to reveal Himself to those He loves.
He also promised we’d experience hardship during our time on this earth. He warned us that we’d have to live and walk by faith (which means we’ll at times need to go forward without having all the answers). He knows we have a tendency to lean on our own understanding and logic so He asked us to trust His heart more than we trust our sight.
Maybe these thoughts don’t resonate with you, but I pray they do. Are you asking certain questions that God doesn’t intend to answer right now? Are those questions holding you back when God beckons you forward?
Maybe it’s time to let go and let God. Maybe it’s time to ask some different questions. Jesus says that things are proven right by their fruit. You’ll know you’re asking the right questions when peace and perspective return. You’ll know you’re on the right track when your disappointment takes a back seat to your divine appointment.
May the Lord lift your chin and give you a new perspective today.
Susie Larson is an author, speaker and radio host for KTIS in Minnesota and Focus on the Family. Visit Susie’s web site at susielarson.com.