Finding the Answers You Need
“Stop striving and know that I am God …”
The chaos started with a simple “pop” followed by a strange, out-of-the-ordinary sound.
I jumped up from my seat at the kitchen table and ran toward the audible fizz, not quite sure about where the sound was coming from exactly. It seemed to be coming from the wall near the back door — right above my living room light switch and just below the alarm keypad.
At first, I thought I heard static — the kind you expect to hear when something electrical is out of whack. The thought of that kind of problem scared me. But I was immediately more shocked and afraid when I realized the hidden buzz getting louder by the second could only mean one thing …
A burst pipe.
My ears followed the sound of the downward flow of water squeezing through copper pipes and splashing against drywall. My search stopped when what I expected to see actually showed up — a steady stream of water beginning to crawl across the floors of my home.
Immediately, I asked myself the question for which I desperately needed an answer.
Where is the water shut-off valve?!?!
I called my husband while simultaneously stuffing my feet halfway into shoes before dashing into the snow. The next few minutes were chaotic as I frantically ran around in the freezing temperatures, talking to my husband, while also trying to uncover the shut-off valve. My search only lasted a few minutes, but those minutes lasted long enough for major damage to already be done.
Finally, I stumbled upon the shut-off valve right outside of my kitchen window on the exterior of my home. The valve boasted a bright orange handle, which stared at me in plain sight — waiting for me to get a clue.
The day before, in the middle of the Texas snowstorm that had brought about harsh weather conditions with freezing temperatures, an out-of-the-blue curiosity came to mind. Where is the water shut-off valve? In response to that random, inner thought, I asked my husband about the location of the valve. The previous homeowner had given me the location during their move out, but I couldn’t remember what she’d said. My husband’s thought about its location didn’t sound familiar, but not long after, my curiosity got lost in the busyness of the day.
I didn’t know I would need to know.
It was all too much. The sudden snowstorm. No electricity. No heat. And now I sat without water and with flooded floors. Gratitude wasn’t my first emotion. Frustration was coupled with a curdled scream … or two. I couldn’t believe that if I’d only leaned into the hunch I’d had the day before about the shut-off valve, things could have been different. Instead, I spent crucial moments striving in pandemonium.
I traded the stillness of the day before for a frantic search for a solution in a moment of mayhem. I truly believe the Spirit had given me an early invitation to a solution for a problem He knew I would face. In my busyness, I didn’t accept the invitation. Did I eventually discover the location of the water shut-off valve? Yes. Did my “striving” to find it in my own strength and in my own time involve more stress? Also yes.
Sometimes it’s best to invest time discovering the answers you need before you need them.
We often invest our time in learning God’s heart by reading His Word, fellowshipping with other believers by engaging in community, and connecting with the Lord Jesus by talking to Him through prayer. As we do so, the answers we need can avail themselves to us before we need them. God’s direction for our lives often lies in the stillness — before the chaos and the craziness. I believe the psalmist who wrote our key verse knew that unexpected moments in life and the interruptions that ensue could lead us to become distracted by our own “knowing.”
“Stop striving and know that I am God …” (Psalm 46:10)
What if, in our striving to figure things out — be it in our own minds or by asking others for their opinions — we escape the still path to answers that can usher us into the very presence and sufficiency of an all-knowing God?
When we position ourselves to receive direction from God, we also position ourselves to live with less overwhelm in our circumstances. The good news is that God is present always. He is ever ready and waiting for us to be still and take notice of Him and the answers He has already provided. In knowing Him, we find the answers we seek, and in seeking Him, we find that He is all we need.
Dear God, help me to be still in the moments of chaos in my life. Help me not to resort to my own strength but instead to take thought of You. Help me to choose You as my first resort, not my last, and to believe that You have what I need. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.