“Have you been asking God what He is going to do? He will never tell you. God does not tell you what He is going to do— He reveals to you who He is.” – Oswald Chambers
So I’m sitting at my desk years ago, slowly eroding a mountain of math papers and waiting for God to do something. You know the feeling. I have to change jobs in the next month; I’ve got applications out in the wind. A dark knot has taken up residence in my stomach. I know God’s moving. I sense the electricity in the air – the “God space” I sometimes call it with my students, those junctures where he likes to step in. But I don’t know where or when he’ll appear. And with the end of school year closing in, I’d really, really like those details.
Finally, a call comes in. My applications have been seen. “Are you available to interview next week?”
Sweetest words ever.
Immediately the pit of anxiety lifts. Someone once said, “All happiness is the release of internal pressure”, and right now such quotes seem sage. It occurs to me that I’m happy just to have prospects; they offer a few days’ vacation from anxiety, a few days of effortless peace.
But the interviews go nowhere. The gnawing pit returns.
I’ve known couples who must bear the question of “Will our baby be healthy?” for an unavoidable season. While the couple waits, the knot feels like an unavoidable companion.
Or there’s the myriad of singles who repeatedly drag a parent, mentor, or friend to coffee over the honest question tugging at their heart: “Will God ever bring me anyone?” After talking their latte cold, they walk away with renewed hope. It feels so good. But after a few more months pass and nobody shows up, the pit returns. And they arrange another chat.
“How is this ministry going to work out?”
“Do you plan to heal my father?”
“Are you going to come through in the way I’m hoping?”
“Will everything be okay?”
After years of this all-too-familiar cycle, the Holy Spirit popped his own question to me. Through conversations over many years, it ultimately came down to this:
Why do you need to know the outcome to get rid of the knot?