Preserved by Purpose – The Real Answer I Need
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say “Here I am.” – Isaiah 58:9
A few years ago, I went through a series of annoying emails with a co-worker. It started with her having a few questions about a specific aspect of my job. Having those answers, I quickly responded to her email. She then sent me back an email with more questions…. even questions about the questions that she asked that she didn’t think I ‘d answered completely. Scratching my head at her continued confusion, I sent her another email with greater clarity (at least I thought) on those questions. I sent the email satisfied that the dialogue was over and that she had the information she wanted.
Two days later, she sent me another email saying that I still hadn’t answered the questions to her satisfaction. Now, she was starting to get on my nerves with her persistence. I was also irritated because I was distracted by her emails. I prayed for greater insight into what she wanted as I reread her emails and my responses to her emails and her responses to my emails. One thing became clear: I didn’t have answers to her questions.
Once I got this revelation, I sent her back an email that stated simply that I did not have an answer for her and that another staff member would probably best respond. She then sent me an email saying that she wanted an answer from ME. Since she was not my boss, my response was to remind her that I didn’t have an answer…and that was MY final answer.
I felt such a great peace of mind when I sent the email. I had a feeling that she would send me another email reminding me that I still didn’t answer her question (which she did). I realized that me not having an answer bothered her more than it bothered me that I didn’t have an answer.
Later that same day, I chuckled because this was a sign that I’d matured both emotionally and spiritually. I used to get frustrated at not having answers for people because I thought I should always have an answer….and that people should have an answer for me.
I also chuckled because I realize I unknowingly do the same thing in my relationship with God. It seemed that if I went to the all-knowing and all-seeing God, I’d get my answer. I think I spent unnecessary emotional and spiritual energy trying to get God to respond to certain questions without realizing that I’d gotten my answer (silence). Like my co-worker, it wasn’t the answer I wanted, so I persisted in asking questions that had already been answered.
Once I accepted God’s answer, peace replaced my frustration. When I accepted God’s answer to some nagging questions, I was able to enjoy the fact that I now had a more intimate fellowship with him. Even though I wasn’t getting what I thought I wanted, I was getting what I needed… and my real answer to all of my questions was being able to hear him with crystal clear clarity as well as a closer walk with him.
Shewanda Riley is a Dallas, Texas based author of “Love Hangover: Moving from Pain to Purpose After a Relationship Ends” and “Writing to the Beat of God’s Heart: A Book of Prayers for Writers.” Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @shewanda.