What Is Next, Lord?

Have you ever asked this question? I’m sure we’ve all asked this question at least once in our lives — many of us have asked it several times in the last few minutes. I have been pondering this question as my family has many big decisions looming on the horizon. Our youngest daughter Tonya is looking ahead to graduating from high school in 2013 and heading off to college, but which college and what major? Brittany and Lauren (our oldest and middle daughters) are 12 months and counting until graduating from college and beginning their careers; in our economy will they be able to find the positions they’ve worked hard to achieve, and if so, where will the company be located? My husband Mark has just finished an 18-month consulting contract that was located in Chicago. What a blessing that has been, but the reality is he has been proposed at locations from sea to shining sea for his next contract. So you see, I get the question, “What is next, Lord?”

I won’t claim to say that I have all the answers to that question. God uses uncertainty in our lives to teach more about Him. While we may not understand what is presently happening, He will disclose His purpose in His time. In order to have a part with God, we must allow Him to work, remembering that He never waits too long. In the meantime, we must persevere in our faith. That sounds so trite, but the fact of the matter is it takes great faith to keep our hope in God alone. If you are like me, it is the nighttime hours — those dark, quiet hours — that wear me down as I wait. Mark, who seems to be able to sleep no matter what is swirling in our lives, recently reminded me that I need to meditate on God’s Word during those sleepless times. I have taken that to heart and, as Psalm 63:6 states, “On my bed I remember you, I think of you through the watches of the night.” As questions of “what’s next” crescendo in my mind, I think of Lamentations 2:19a: “Arise, cry out in the night, as the watches of the night begin; pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord.” And then I do what the verse says: I pour out my heart — my concerns, my hurts, my questions, before the throne of God. He doesn’t sleep, and He bends His ear to His beloved ones. It is in God alone that my soul can find rest for “my hope comes from Him” (Psalm 62:5). Knowing that, I then cling to God and I claim Isaiah 41:10, inserting my name as God whispers His words of comfort: “So do not fear, for I am with you, Cindy; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. Cindy, I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

It may take hours to have sleep overtake me, but as I ask God what’s next, He breathes into me His Spirit of peace, reminding me that He is at work perfecting my faith and the faith of those for whom I am praying. I encourage you in the midst of “what is next” times to remember that our God “will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3).

by Cindy Bates, Director of Connections Ministries