I almost pulled over when I saw the sign.
My son and I took the morning off. I had a to-do list to attend to. Cleaning to accomplish. Writing to get done.
But we were tired.
Our family is having one of those weeks where we barely have time to breathe plus I’d stayed up late watching the presidential election results.
So, I abandoned chores, filled a to-go mug with caffeinated tea, loaded my three-year-old into the minivan and went for a drive.
I saw the sign on our way home while listening to my son chatter about “Batman” and “bad guys” and other highly important toddler issues.
Someone had posted a huge wooden sign on the side of the busy road saying:
Kristen, please come home. ♥
I’ve spent two days thinking about Kristen and praying for Kristen.
A sign like that stirs up my question-asking nature. I’m always the person asking the most questions. Always.
And doesn’t this just make you want to ask?
Who wrote that sign? Who is Kristen? Why is Kristen gone? What turmoil was there, what bitterness or anger might have made her leave?
Or maybe she was taken? What if someone hurt her or is hurting her?
Will she ever come home? Will things change for the better?
Oh, Jesus, please rescue Kristen from whatever pit has her trapped and maybe scared or hurting.
I almost turned my minivan right around and parked in that lot to take a picture of the sign so I could remember.
But I didn’t. I kept driving and turns out, I didn’t even need the reminder because Kristen and her sign are etched on my heart.
Here I had my precious baby boy right there in the van with me, still maintaining a running dialogue about superheroes, and another person—maybe a mom like me—was missing someone dear.
Since seeing that sign, not only am I aching for someone else’s pain and compelled to prayer on behalf of another, I’m reminded anew of all I don’t know.
I don’t know anything about Kristen or her circumstances or her family.
I have the most superficial awareness of someone else’s deep reality.
But that’s okay.
We’re people who love scientific certainty, but we live in an uncertain world and that makes us feel a bit shaky at times.
But sometimes the healthiest and wisest thing we can do is admit we don’t know everything.
In the book of Ezekiel, God shows the prophet a valley full of dead bones and asks:
“Son of man, can these bones live?” (Ezekiel 37:3 NIV).
How would I have answered?
Maybe I’d have lacked faith that God could do the impossible and told Him surely those bones were dead as dead could be–as if I knew all there was to know.
But Ezekiel answered differently. He said,
“Sovereign Lord, you alone know” (Ezekiel 37:3 NIV).
God is sovereign, Ruler of all, in control of what we face, aware of all that remains hidden to us.
And we don’t have to know everything, because we know HIM and He knows….and that’s enough.
Every day, we face a million questions, so many without answers.
The questions themselves can be healthy–they can draw us closer to His side. They keep the dialogue open instead of shutting it down in hurtful bitterness.
Why this, God, and not that? Why do I have to wait? Why the hurt or the pain or sorrow?
This not-knowing, this life where we can embrace the mysterious and uncertain, can propel us to know Him better.
When we realize what we don’t know, we seek God’s perspective and His answers instead of providing our own.
We leave our problems in HIs hands instead of trying to keep control ourselves.
We stop trying to force our own plans and agendas and start resting in the arms of Jesus.
We can pray by trusting the Holy Spirit to be at work in ways we can’t see to help people we don’t know through issues we don’t fully comprehend.
I don’t know Kristen. I don’t know her family. I don’t know the story behind the sign.
I don’t know about a lot in the world, not about why some things happen or what God’s plans are for me or for others around me.
But I can know Him, and I can try everyday to know Him more deeply and truly, and I can remember this:
“Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture (Psalm 100:3 ESV).
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 NIV