Wednesday, December 20, 2023

When You Just Don't Know

When You Just Don't Know 
by David Brenneman 

For someone who thinks a lot, tries to learn what I find interesting, quite often I don't know what to say either to people or to my Savior in prayer. 

I am uncertain if it's to have been written of earlier than now or not, but, sharing something like this is somewhat difficult for me.  With more times than I can count, God's shown me that He's gifted me with an ability to troubleshoot problems.  Has had me learn more and more with no clear explanation at the time as to why.  With all of this...after we moved ability to pursue things has significantly diminished.  My desire to be ambitious or zealous of going after things has significantly dropped off.  I have been trying to seek Godly counsel.  Been trying to understand this stage of life for me.

A pair of really prevalent passages has been Proverbs 3:5-7 "Trust inthe Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight." and Proverbs 16:9 "The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps." have been with me for months now.

As a student, I have come to conclude that understanding may only come with time, but not always.  

Sometimes I find myself interacting with people ready to give advice who have yet to sit down with me to understand who I am and what my true story is.   It was several days ago where I mentioned finding that quote by Walt Whitman "Be curious, not judgemental.".  More people have judged me before ever trying to get to know me than I can count.  To borrow a passage from the Bible...probably as many as the sands of the seashore.  

When you think as much as I do on many things at once as I do...grappling for a conclusion is difficult.  But what does the Bible say about not knowing what, how, who and where?  Look no further than the book of Job.  Really look into Psalms and Proverbs.  Read the ending chapters of Daniel.  When taking in the writings of Paul you can gather the truth of disciples that we are, are in training in righteousness.  When we look at basic training in the military, if a new recruit knew ahead of time what was coming, they probably wouldn't attempt what the lesson was about.  

Quite often the Spirit whom the Bible says is our Helper, our Teacher, essentially our Instructor, takes a Believer through something they may not get a reason why. 

Try thinking in my favorite place...outside the box. 

Life is going rather well.  Ever thought about why? 
Life is going rather rough.  Ever thought about why?
Life is going really good. Ever thought about why?
Life is going extremely rough. Ever thought about why?

Many times we're so into the moment we don't think to question it unless the complexity of it really gets our attention.  

In those harder times it's much easier to probably ask God what's going on?  Have I done something to bring this about?  Should I have turned left instead of right? 

David wrote a lot about his feelings and emotions in the book of Psalms.  Job wrote straight from the heart.  Everything else had been stripped away by his pain.  Yet we don't read that he ever knew what had happened to him. That he was front and center of a epic Spiritual battle in the heavens and on Earth. 

Not understanding is ok.  Job lived out his remaining years without knowing and he and his family turned out right.

Knowing actually can become a truly painful experience.  On the road to Damascus, Saul, still breathing threats against what was known as "The Way", had an encounter with Jesus who took his sight for a time.  In his apparent silence, Saul was getting a one-on-one education of truth from the Spirit.  He was having his now new Spiritual eyes opened. Learning the truth about the Scriptures that he had been trained in all his life.  He was getting to know everything that he only thought he knew.  It rocked him to his core.  His house that was built on the sand was moved to being on the Rock. 

It's possible to have peace in not knowing.  Sometimes, I have just had the notion to ask God about things only because I am curious to know.  Sometimes He's answered plainly.  Sometimes He's shown me things that are for me alone.  Things that I was blessed to experience.

Why all of this?  I would ask those reading it for prayer.  I am still rediscovering myself since moving here.  The stress we left isn't here.  The need to constantly be in survival mode isn't there. Opening up isn't as easy as life had been before 20 plus years in that wilderness.  I struggle greatly at creating new friends.  Being that vulnerable isn't easy for me.  I am praying that I find a new job that is a better fit for me.  Am praying that my creativity returns.  I desire to learn always, and there are just obstacles in the way of some of those things.  I want to learn the guitar.  Would like to get into more complex woodworking projects.  Would like to find friends here with similar interests.  Would like to connect with some men of God who would really like to get into my life to help me grow in Christ.  

Growing in Christ is but one key reason we go through so much that we don't recognize as lessons from God.  Growing in Christ is a simple but complex process that He began in us when we came to Christ Jesus for salvation.  Growing in Christ is supposed to attract others to Christ as well.  A developing career that doesn't include Christ is worthless.  

So if, My Dear Reader, you're confused about where your life is going, it's ok.

If we don't trust Jesus in every high and every low, we won't trust Him when everything is going well in all the ways we should.  Our own understanding will get us in trouble every time.  We'll want to pull out of difficult times when He says to hang on. We will run ahead of Him in our excitement when the best course of action is stay behind Him.  We will be in trouble.

Take time to always be in prayer, even if you don't know what to say.  The Spirit really shines in those times.  The Bible promises that He intercedes on our behalf with groanings too deep for words.  I don't know how to really pray.  I can talk to God all the time about what I understand life to be.  I need the Spirit within me to say what I really mean to do you. 

When we read if the eternity to come when Jesus promised to wipe every single tear from our eyes, think of this.  Those tears just won't be from the painful experiences of our lives.  It will also be because only then will we understand much of what was really happening.  We will have tears of joy that He will wipe as well. 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.  The mind of man plans his ways, but the Lord directs his steps. 

All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation.

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