I am a problem-solver. Not a particularly good one, but a problem-solver nevertheless. Have you heard that dumb interview question, "Which would you rather have: a problem or a blank piece of paper?" I will always pick the problem. If you hand me a blank piece of paper all you're going to get is 11 poorly drawn cubes, maybe a spiral, and blood from the two papercuts I'm basically contractually obliged to get.
But when you give me a problem, I spring into action. I love problems because I love answers. And I love answers because I love knowing exactly what to do.
In the middle of uncertainty and struggle, then, I immediately go into problem-solving mode. When money gets tight, when sickness enters the family, or when I can't stand the thought of working another day at this damn job - I start googling, drawing charts, building spreadsheets. I make contingency plans. And if that fails, I begin calling people - the boyfriend, someone from church, my Dad - someone who can tell me what to do.
I've been dealing with some personal battles for the past couple of weeks, and I desperately long for someone to give me answers. At this point I might even take a bad answer, so long as I have one. But, for the first time, as I began writing the text or an overwrought email, I stopped myself.
As much as I want a plan, and as I sit in the still, small, and necessarily intimate space of my 450 ft studio apartment, I have felt the quiet conviction that God wants me come to Him instead. Where I would text someone, He wants me to sit down. When I start googling, He wants me to be still and pray. When I want to cry to a friend, He is asking me to cry out to Him first.
I felt affirmed in my conviction as I was reading Lamentations the other day. Of a suffering man, the author writes,
Let him sit alone and be silent
Since He has laid it on him. (Lamentations 3:28, NASB)
I don't know why I found this verse so profound, because as I mulled it over, I realize God has been speaking this message to me again and again, year after year, across the pages of His word.
The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent. (Exodus 14:14, NASB)
Cease striving and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10, NASB), or
Be still, and know that I am God. (NIV)
Whom have I in heaven but You? (Psalm 73:25, NASB)
I don't have enough words within me to explain how hard and lonely it is to recognize and give up a reliance on human assurance. To put down the phone, shut off the laptop, and get down on your knees. To pray to a God that at times seems distant, while earthly advice seems so tangible.
But, at the end of the day and at the end of your life, it comes down to you and God. No one on this earth can fight the battles you will face. There is nothing in this world that can save you from your worst fears. The only hope you have is in Christ. God alone is the blessed controller of all things, and He demands your submission to His sovereignty.
So. We sit in our tiny, intimate rooms and quietly place our trust in a God who is far wiser and promises that every minute of waiting is for our good and His glory. We pray and cry out to a God that allows our suffering and sometimes meets us with silence, because we know we will not wait forever. We rely on a God who leads us down paths we do not understand, because He assures us that He is prospering us (Jeremiah 29:11), restoring us (1 Peter 5:10) , and fighting for us (Exodus 14:14).
We cease our striving and sit alone and wait on our God, because we know that our hope is not here.