Three of the most difficult words in the English language are often “I don’t know”. The more personal the question, or maybe the more you feel like you should have a better answer, the more difficult they are to pronounce. Lately, however, I find that I have to use them a lot. As you might imagine, I get a lot of questions about moving to Ireland, things like…
- Where will you live?
- What kind of school will your kids attend?
- What will your ministry look like?
- When are you going?
I think, at this point, the fact that we don’t necessarily have all the answers is to be expected. After all, we’re motoring through the process of figuring it all out. Some things we may not know until we actually arrive. Some things may take even longer.
It’s a very natural thing for a Christian to talk about “waiting on the Lord”. This is a Christianese phrase that should mean, trusting that God will guide and direct our steps to bring about the circumstances that are best. And, honestly, I have seen this time and time again in my own life and the life of my family. When we moved to the Bay Area, for example, we had no idea even what town we’d call home. No idea where the kids would go to school. No idea what church we’d attend. And yet, as we stepped through the process, we stumbled into a great life. I say “stumbled”, because it wasn’t the result of some well-executed plan on my part. But I do believe God worked it out for my good and His glory.
This doesn’t mean we didn’t do everything we could to find the right situation. It doesn’t mean we weren’t extremely concerned with finding the right details. But if you’d asked me in early August of 2011 any of the questions I listed above with reference to the Bay Area, I would have said those dreaded words: “I don’t know”.
So yes, I’ve seen it before. But it’s often easier to talk about waiting on the Lord when you have come through it and seen what He was going to do. It’s not as easy to walk through it when the path ahead is hidden. Still, I think that’s the point. Anyone can have faith after the fact. God calls us to trust Him in the midst of life’s I-don’t-know moments. I think the fact that I secretly cringe when people ask specific questions about our move to Ireland has less to do with the person asking the question and more to do with my own distaste for waiting on the Lord. God doesn’t have to prove He’s faithful. I just have to trust that He’ll show me what I need to see in His time. Take a look at Romans 8:28, quoted here from the ESV:
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose
It’s good to remember that my “good”, as defined in this verse is not always comfortable! In fact, when it’s less comfortable, it forces me to rely on Him all the more. May we all step forward in faith through life’s I-don’t-know moments.