Whens and Whats

May 14, 2013

One of the greatest tensions of this faith walk for me – and I would guess most – is the ground of “whens and whats.” How often do our cries to Him mirror the cries of desperately wanting to know the pressing whens and whats of life? It’s the questions of “when will I get married and have children?” or “what I am supposed to be doing?” or “when will you answer this prayer?” or “what is the meaning of my dream and passion?”

The whens and whats of life are so inherently human to me. I can’t seem to go a morning without having another question pop into my head, persistently pressing its hardest to find an answer.

And what I have constantly come to revelation in my own life is how little God actually answers the whens and whats of life. When our cries begin resounding with questions, His response isn’t far, but His answers are rare.

What I mean is that God irresistibly responds to His people but rarely, in my own life at least, does He actually answer our questions. Oftentimes it makes me want to throw a tantrum (which I do), curse a couple words, and stomp as loud as possible until an answer is given.


On the Tuesday morning of this very session, with nothing in my hands for that night’s teaching, and in the middle of a swirling air of angst, frustration, and unanswered questions, I opened my Bible to the next chapter to dig into Mark. No matter what I did to move past this account of the disciples asking Jesus about the “whens and whats,” I couldn’t escape it. I tell you, this passage ministered to me. There I was, sitting in my own living room, being hit afresh with how brilliant, intentional, and sudden God’s responses are, and yet how rare, few, and infrequent His answers can be. It is the tense ground of faith.

What I came to realize again that morning in my living room was something I desperately needed a fresh reminder of that day. Maybe, in this moment, you do as well…

You and I are created for the mystery. It’s the mystery of response without answer. The mystery that protects faith in our lives, from which quick answers could so easily steal the ground. It’s the mystery of dependency, moment-by-moment living, and sincere shrugs of “who knows” to what comes next – all with an undertone of expectation, excitement, and certainty it will be good. It’s the mystery where the silence builds tension and the tension builds faith and the faith doesn’t disappoint.


If your feet feel magnetized to that ground today – as most of us do despite our own best efforts – you are exactly where you are meant to be. Standing smack dab in the mystery of life, experiencing One who often responds but rarely answers, is your ground. And maybe, just maybe… His purposeful, timed response is a means by which to protect and ignite faith afresh in our lives.

That day, in my own living room, with just hours to go until the knocking began and the chatter rumbled – that was exactly what I needed to hear.

Click below to jump into the 11th episode of our Living Room Tuesdays.


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