When I Don't Get to Know
Katherine Averill - Women’s Bible Study Teacher
I love going on walks with my Dad in the woods that surround his house. He has charted out a hike that spans a few miles, and I’ll follow him — sometimes in conversation, but often in silence.
Once last year, we broke that silence by bringing my youngest, Molly, along with us. She was fastened to my back and — since she didn’t have to walk — she was able to focus all of her energy on talking about whatever popped into her little three-year-old head.
When we were still in eyeshot of the house, she would comment on the sky and the grass and the sound of rustling leaves. But once the house was out of sight and we were surrounded by trees, the conversation turned.
“Bumpa?” she asked my dad. “Are we lost?”
“Nope,” he replied.
“Are you sure?”
“I can’t see the house. I think we’re lost.”
“We’re not lost.”
“We’re lost. I’m pretty sure we’re going in circles.”
“We’re not lost. I know the way.”
And he did. He knew, even though she didn’t.
I like to know.
I like knowing what we’re having for dinner, what we’re doing tomorrow, what the weather will be like.
I’ll schedule out every hour of a vacation. I’ll Instragram-stalk my new friends.
I’ll research the plot-lines of suspenseful movies on my phone while I’m sitting in the theater.
When it comes to my faith, I like knowing as well.
I like knowing what God is working on in my life.
I like knowing where He’s leading me.
I like knowing what’s in store.
But sometime, I don’t get to know.
I’ll go through seasons when my circumstances don’t make sense to me.
When I feel blindsided; when I can’t catch a break;
When I’ve done everything right and yet everything keeps going wrong.
I’ll follow God into a certain patch of woods, but then it will feel like we’re walking in circles.
Suddenly, I can’t see the destination anymore.
There’s often an association between seasons of not knowing and seasons of doubt.
It’s easy to trust God when you understand what He’s doing.
It’s easy to follow God when you can see where He’s taking you.
But when you don’t get to know? That’s a different ballgame.
That’s when you begin to question God’s character —
to wonder if He’s mad at you or if He’s even paying attention.
If we can’t see the whole plan, we begin to wonder if there’s even a plan at all.
So we pray. We ask God for wisdom. We ask God for clarity.
And still, sometimes, we simply just don’t get to know.
So what do we do then?
How do we protect ourselves against anxiety,
in the seasons when we don’t get to know what God’s doing?
Here are three things to do when you feel like God’s got you lost in the woods:
#1 — Get Your Bearings
When you’re feeling lost and disoriented,
the first thing you need to do is stop, take a deep breath, and look around.
Because, even though you don’t know everything, you do know something.
Deuteronomy 29:29 says, “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.”
Here’s what we learn from that verse:
Yes, there are some secret things that belong just to the LORD.
And right now, those things may include what God is doing, how He is working, where He is leading you, and how long the journey will take.
But not everything is secret.
There are things that the LORD has revealed —
things that now belong to you,
that you get to hold on to,
that will help you get through this season.
So what has God revealed?
That He’s in control. — Job 26:7-14
That He knows the way. — Prov. 16:9
That He loves you. — Rom. 8:35-39
That He’ll carry you through this. — Isa. 46:4
That He’s faithful to you. — 2 Tim. 2:13
That He’s working everything out for your good. — Rom. 8:28-29
God has revealed His character —
through His word, through His Son, through history, and through your own story.
You know He’s gotten you through it before; you know He can do it again.
#2 — Find Your North Star
You may not be able to choose your circumstances, but you can always choose your hope.
You can choose who you trust in the trial.
You can choose who to look to for strength and endurance and peace.
In Ephesians 4:17-24, Paul compares those who know Christ to those who don’t.
Specifically, he compares how they process their surroundings.
He says those who don’t know Christ have futile minds and darkened understandings.
He says they’re alienated, ignorant, and hard-hearted.
Simply put: they’re lost.
But why are they so lost? In verse 19, Paul says they have “given themselves up to sensuality.”
This means that they live according to their senses.
They look at what looks good.
They taste what tastes good.
They listen to what sounds good.
They do what feels good.
Their North Star is their feelings.
But in the next verse, Paul proclaims, “But that is not the way you learned Christ!”
Paul is essentially saying, “Their North Star is their feelings — and they’re lost.
But your North Star? Your North Star is Jesus.”
You’ve gotten your bearings.
You’ve remembered who God is, what He’s done already, what He has promised you.
But you still feel lost.
You know God is with you, but it feels like He’s abandoned you.
You know God is for you, but it feels like He’s against you.
You know God is at work, but it feels like He’s apathetic.
So now you’ve got a choice to make:
What are you going to put your hope in?
What are you going to trust?
What’s going to be your North Star?
Is it going to be how you feel, or is it going to be what you know is true about God?
One North Star is going to leave you lost — but the other one will lead you home.
#3 — Follow Your Leader
Once you’ve chosen God as your North Star, it’s time to follow Him.
It’s time to follow your Leader.
So how do we follow God when we can’t see the whole road?
By trusting Him. — Prov. 3:5-6
By holding fast to His promises. — Heb. 10:23
By being patient with His plan. — Rom. 8:25
By letting His Word guide you. — Ps. 119:105
By going to Him in prayer. — James 1:5
By obeying Him, even when it doesn’t make sense. — Isa. 55:6-9
Right now, you don’t get to know. But you do get to trust.
You get to trust your Leader — His character, His promises, His timing, His plan.
You know He is good,
you know He knows the way,
and you know, sooner or later, He’ll lead you out of the woods.