The phrase, “I don’t know” is an interesting phrase that wears many masks. There are emotions hidden behind an, “I don’t know”. Different feelings, moods and implications are applied to different situations. No matter what the situation, “I don’t know” is almost always followed by a period of waiting.
When using “I don’t know” in situations with potential for positive outcomes, it can be accompanied by excitement and joy. The phrase can go hand in hand with anticipation of success and healing. It can be coupled with thankfulness that overflows! We can agree waiting for a positive outcome can be pleasant.
But not every situation ends happily.
Many situations with unknown outcomes may not end well – situations that may turn out very sad or very destructive – situations that cause separation in relationships or a life-altering illness. When waiting out a potential negative ending to “I don’t know”, it can seem like each day is grueling.
In those cases, it takes a conscious effort to keep “I don’t know” from marrying “Worry”. “I don’t know” and “Worry” seem like opposite ends of a magnet while we wait for a probable negative outcome.
But in the wait is hope!
First, God can do anything! Converting an “I don’t know” into “yes” or “no” based upon your own power and understanding leaves God out. God wants to be with you in every situation and every waiting period!
Second, we are told over and over again in the Bible, do not worry.
Philippians 4:6 advises us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Matthew 6:25 counsels us, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?
How do we leave worry behind? How do we wait without worrying?
Often times to avoid worry, we like to fill our waiting time with other jobs, other tasks that will distract us from the impending outcome. Keeping busy helps us concentrate on not worrying and it helps us feel accomplished.
However, there is another path we can follow found in Luke 10. This is the story of two sisters, Mary and Martha who are friends of Jesus. It appears that Martha, is a very busy, task-oriented person and frankly, a bit cranky. Mary, on the other hand, is captured by Jesus’ presence and hangs peacefully on every word.
Martha has an “I don’t know” about how all the work is going to get done during Jesus’s visit. Mary is not helping; everything is falling on Martha’s shoulders and she is getting frantic. She is fed up. She complains straight to Jesus and here is His reply in verse 42.
“but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Martha was worried and she did not know the answers to all her questions. She didn’t know how long the guests would be there, she didn’t know how to get all the work done – she didn’t know how to just sit. Is this you?
If you are faced with “I don’t know’s” that are potentially negative, stand firm in your trust in the Lord! Remember not to worry! Don’t fill up your wait with tasks that may distract you from one thing that is needed. Sit with God. Wait with Him. His plans are greater than ours and He is always good.
Just sit and wait. Be peaceful.
It is in your “wait” spent with God that His outcome is revealed.