Ask, listen, know. Repeat.

I’m not sure why that annoying headache went away yesterday. Was it the third cup of coffee?
or the aspirin?
or staying away from the screens?
or because I stopped crying on the inside – and outside – about things over which I have no control and about memories that cycle through the year?

I don’t and won’t ever know. I think there is a formal scientific process of research that would tell me to try only one thing at a time. But frankly, I wasn’t willing to wait nor did I really need an answer.

But right now, during a hard time for the entire world, there is one of the biggest black holes of no answers I can remember. Not that the past hasn’t been hard for each of us in our own ways. It’s just that we are all experiencing this global pain together – but separately – and there seem to be no answers or relief in sight.

This morning, after reading some current articles about theories and numbers and Christian viewpoints – and then the other Christian viewpoints, I felt so uneasy – Who in the wide-wide world of sports do I listen to?

Sure, there are reliable sources for almost every topic known to man. Serious articles about science and faith, answering serious questions about the world and God and what that verse in the Bible means or what did Jesus write in the dirt? And for the love, will someone please clear up that whole “Curse of Ham” thing? (See Genesis 9 for the story. It’s a doozy.)

But in our everyday, there are countless unexplained moments. Why did he get the promotion? What happened to my business? When did she stop being my friend? Why? Is there someone for me? Why did they live, but he died?

Nowadays, new, more urgent questions continue to emerge – How long will we have to stay safe at home? Is this really that bad? What started it? Is there a lesson somewhere in the pain and frustration?

Responses to these inquiries are vague, elusive and hidden, almost secret. Except for one.

We don’t know.

We just don’t. We don’t know why or when or how or who. Some people think they know and they are quick to tell you how right they are and exactly where you stand on their scale of Uninformed –> Naïve –> Wrong –> Are you kidding me?

But, they are just exactly like everybody else. They don’t have answers either. Not really. Not any of us.

This morning, as I got ready for the day, these words stood out…

They say it only takes a little faith
To move a mountain
Well good thing
A little faith is all I have, right now
But God, when You choose
To leave mountains unmovable
Oh give me the strength to be able to sing
It is well with my soul

“Even If” by MercyMe, 2017, Lifer album

This is surely no time for me to think I have the answers. Yes, I’ve lived longer than some and have the benefit of experience with things tried-and-true.

But, my lovelies, we are in uncharted waters. We are facing ancient problems completely foreign to our modern day solutions. And we don’t like it. Not one bit.

And even if this were a more common occurrence – or an act of man or woman that could be predicted but not entirely avoided or an unpleasant but accepted normality – even then, answers are not always at the ready.

So this morning, after hearing that song, I wrote:

In the absence of answers, my job is to continue to ask questions.
And listen.

Even when nothing is clear and everything is spiraling straight south…
Even if I cannot for the life of me understand why any of this is happening…
Even if I feel my strength to keep-on-keeping-on drain slowly from my soul…
Even if I ask a hundred times and there are still no answers…

Even then, I pray my words will reflect this hope…

I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But
even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
I know the sorrow, I know the hurt
Would all go away if You’d just say the word
But
even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
.

MercyMe

My job is to ask and listen and know, without a doubt, that my hope is not in those answers. It is in Jesus.

It would be sweet if I knew that the last cup of coffee was a blessed answer to my headache. It would be helpful if we could have a little conversation about why he was chosen over me. The same is true for failed businesses and friendship, life or death. (Although, to be honest, I’ll wait in line at the Information Booth in heaven to find out about that whole Ham’s Curse thing.)

We raise a Hallelujah! when the answer is yes and the job comes our way and our bodies are healed. In fact, at times it feels like we have a right to an answer if we pray hard enough.

I am pretty sure God doesn’t work that way. And I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t want Him to. The tension of not knowing and dependence on Him give us an intimacy that children who always get their way usually lack. It’s a holy bond, keeping us close, under His wing.

No, I don’t like this chaos one bit. I wish I knew when I could hug Asher and Audrey again and when Tim could run out for HäagenDazs and when it wasn’t just so eerie. But I don’t know.

No one does.

But what really matters is that I don’t have to know.

What really matters is that all is well with my soul.

Photo by Alex on Unsplash

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