She said once to me, head bent to the left, chin in her hand, “I’m not sure what comes next.” I nod my assent because who among us does? The stock brokers and the farmers and the kindergarten teachers are all wishing for a map of the future with the bends in the road marked with neat, curvy lines. “The hard thing happens here,” we’d say. “Oh, look, what a nice surprise around that corner,” we’d remark.
We’d plan our days accordingly. The purple sweater for the good news. The sturdy brown boots for that moment when the phone will ring and life will tilt on its axis and never quite be the same. We’d have tissues in our purses and a little packet of confetti. We could schedule our dentist appointments conveniently around momentous occasions.
But is doesn’t work that way, we all know. There is no preparing, really, for what’s ahead. Because just when we feel secure, the day is shaken like a snow globe. Plans and expectations falling to the ground like so many pieces of glitter. We’re upside down and the earth is flat. We are the startled and amazed.
There is so much going on as I write this and people are wondering, speculating, placing bets and providing commentary. Safe. We want to feel safe. And we think the surest path to this is knowing. Certainty. Security. But if there is anything unpredictable in this world it is predictability.
So what’s a girl, man, woman, three-legged dog to do? We must find something better than our circumstances to depend on. And this is where God comes in.
Even when we don’t have all the answers we so long for, we don’t actually need to know the future. We just need to trust the One who authors it into being. – Kaitlyn Bouchillon, Even If Not
God alone has the answer to what happens next. He doesn’t often share this. Explaining is not in His usual repertoire. I wondered about this for a long time. After all, couldn’t He just set our minds at ease? Wouldn’t a memo or a few bullet points be nice?
But then I read the book of Job, the story of a man who is blindsided by life. Who loses everything but his faith and the bones within him. At the end of a lot of talking by Job and his friends, God shows up. And God does not talk about what has happened to Job. No, instead God talks about who He is. Because the Maker of the stars and the stretcher of the oceans and the roar inside the thunder knows that even if He explains it all, something else will happen tomorrow.
Job instead needs to know where to place his confidence. Maybe we put it in family, wealth, education, experiences and in the cookie jar at the back of the cabinet that has only a few chocolate crumbs at the bottom. But the secret that Job finds is this: Confidence is not a place at all, not a relationship or a status. Confidence is a Person. He is holy and wild, good and gracious.
What happens next? It’s the question we will always ask and never quite answer. But we can be confident of Who will be there. No matter what.
P.S. With all that’s going on in our world, I’m revisiting this post from the archives. It was a comfort to me to read again and I hope it is to you too. If you like this post, you’ll love this book – What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days: 52 Encouraging Truths to Hold On To.
On this week’s More than Small Talk podcast episode Jennifer, Suzie, and I are talking about turning fear into holy confidence. We also did a bonus video for you in the More than Small Talk Facebook group for you about handling life’s storms.