The tiles are cold underneath me so I pull over a rug to sit on, back pressed against the wall, weary head leaned back, and a towel thrown over my legs - another attempt to keep the cold at bay. My stomach growls every other minute or so reminding me that I am hungry but normally am not up to feel it at this hour, long before dawn’s light will streak across the sky. I can feel the tiredness through every part of me but not even so much because of the hour but because of life. Sometimes, at every turn there is hard. I look and all around me are people struggling under the weight of hard. I continue to hold the phone close and listen to the tears on the other end wishing there was a way to fix it all and calm the fears but feeling powerless to do so.Powerless is a feeling I know well. Friends and family I love and others I don't know well at all but I know of their pain are meeting each sunrise unsure of how to take the next step forward because life isn't what they expected, planned for, or wanted. I don't even have to leave my own home to find the struggle. What are the answers? How can one help? Sometimes help and answers are far from simple.What happens when days turn into weeks which turn into years without solutions? What happens when the healing is long and slow or maybe there is none? What do we do when our children ask questions we can't answer? What do we say when the loss is excruciating, the diagnosis scary, the circumstances are overwhelming, the pain (physical or otherwise) is continual, or the darkness is heavy and there seems to be no end in sight? What do we do when we cannot understand what God is doing and why He doesn't answer the way we ask?I have pleaded with God in the last few years, tears streaming, asking Him for answers, for healing, for change, for redemption and found myself wondering why when I am asking for things that are good, right, and honoring to Him, does He withhold the answers I seek? Have you begged God to act in some way, to bring change, and it seems nothing happens?What is God doing?The answer is, I don't know. And somehow, I have begun to find some peace in the not knowing. I still wrestle. I still shed many tears over unanswered questions. I still grieve and feel weary many days. How can there be peace without understanding? The peace comes in the recognition of who I am and who I serve.“'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 'For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. 'For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the Lord, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.'”Isaiah 55:8-13His thoughts are not my thoughts. His ways are not mine. I would write stories differently where children don't die, teens don't get hurt and struggle, peace reigns in all hearts, diseases don't take over bodies, relationships aren't broken, people aren't scarred, and peaceful sleep always comes. However, my thoughts and ways are so very limited and the honest truth is, my end goal would be ease and comfort. God’s end goal is SO MUCH more rich, sweet, eternal, and beautiful. There is peace when we recognize we are finite and cannot understand the mind and ways of an infinite God. Where we think only thorns and briers will grow, He grows the cypress and myrtle (vs.13). Where we think only brokenness will grow, He grows faith and vessels for His glory. In all of the hard He is working to make His name known to the world - His glory known (vs. 13). In His grace, He is always working for our good as well (Rom. ) but in ways we can't imagine (Eph. ). When I bow to His greatness and sovereignty, when I relinquish the need to understand or have things answered MY way, then verse twelve is true for me and I go out not only with peace, but with joy.The pressure is off. I don't have to know. You don't have to know and understand. We cry out and we beg God to work, to save, to redeem, to heal, and we trust that whatever answer He gives is as it should be because it is coming from Someone who can see far beyond what we can, is doing abundantly more than we can imagine, and is faithful beyond what we can comprehend.And there is peace.Peace and understanding are not the same thing. Understanding is not something we are ever promised. The outcomes we think are good are never promised. Peace is promised if we will continually believe God (Rom. ) and continually lay our burdens at His feet (Phil. 4:6-7).My pillow will be wet with tears again many times over before my life here is done. God created hearts in us that care so we will rightfully grieve the brokenness of this world. I will plead and beg of God many times over on behalf of my children in these years before they leave my home and I think even more so after. I will cry out to Him on behalf of the pain in others I love and even those I don't know well but who are experiencing first hand the pain of this world. However, I do not have to do any of that without peace. I can trust the heart of the One who hears it all. I can stand firmly on the truth that every word that goes out from His mouth will accomplish what He intended for it and all will be brought to completion (vs. 11).I ended the call that night when the tears on the other end had subsided, and I turned to the only thing I knew that could transform my discouraged thoughts. I turned to truth. In God’s providence and goodness, in the hours I was sleeping, a friend had sent me something written around this truth from God’s Word:“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”Deuteronomy 29:29I clung to it with every fiber of my being. They - all those things that threaten to tear my heart apart that I do not understand - they belong to God and I can leave them there. He has given me all I need.
And there is peace.I brought much before the Lord on those tiles that night. There are so many hurting and so many circumstances I do not understand and feel powerless to help. After much prayer, I got up off those cold tiles and dried the tears. There was nothing fixed. I had no more understanding how to move forward, how to help, how to fix, and I still do not. I did leave there though different than I had sat down. I left with peace because I had laid down the need to understand - at least for that day. I will need to repeat over and over but that's the wonderful thing about God, His supply never runs out. Each time I come earnestly seeking peace, ready to trust Him with all that doesn't make sense to me, He lavishes me in His grace with His endless supply of peace.“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”Proverbs 3:5