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Find Answers

by BARBARA LOWNSBURY


Not only is this one of my most popular posts, but it seems especially helpful to me in the midst of COVID-19. I would love to hear what you think!

What do you do when you’re facing a major decision, or you’re at a crossroads in your life? When that curve ball you weren’t expecting hits you squarely in the face, demanding immediate attention? Those types of moments are some of the most challenging spaces we face, and answers can feel difficult to come by.

Blessedly, God has some really great answers. As I’m facing my own unique blessings and challenges, seeking God’s face for His answers for me, I felt led to go back to where wisdom is taught and found: Proverbs. There is a great passage in Proverbs 2:1-14 that really jumped out at me. It starts with an “if, then” statement, as in if you do these things then that will be your outcome.

The very first step? Listen. Man, that can be hard for me! I get so caught up in the demands on my time and the needs of those around me, I can have a hard time stopping. Or, I get overwhelmed in my own emotion and I simply can’t get past myself long enough to hear. But if I don’t make the time to stop and engage, I can’t find His answer for me. Even if it’s briefly, I have to make a decision to value God’s wisdom over my own need to solve or move, and force myself to slow down and check in.

Still, Proverbs makes it clear I also have to act. Solomon uses words like “apply,” “search,” “look” and “sift.” All of these are active verbs, action steps that have to accompany my fervent prayer. Maybe it’s reaching out to my pool of Wise Advisors for some counsel and insight. It could be studying or researching potential solutions, or looking for programming. Regardless, this is where my intentionality comes into play. It’s prayer AND action working hand-in-hand that allow God to show up and begin to impart wise solutions and answers.

As I learn to continually cry out to God and lay my needs and requests before Him, looking to His word and the resources He’s given me for answers, my answers begin to come into view. It’s like I’m looking through a lens and the view is out of focus, but as I dial into God and begin to search, the focus sharpens and the right answers for me become clearer and clearer until the solution is crisp and sharp before me. It may not be the entire solution all at once. That takes my faith and God-reliance out of the picture. But it is certainly the very next step.

And the blessing? The “than” outcome? The Lord promises to grant me the kind of wisdom that will lead me to every good path. Here Solomon uses words like “victory, “shield,” “guard” and “protect.” My outcome will be “pleasant,” “pleasing.” He literally says it will save me from walking in the dark or getting lost down crooked, ruinous paths. Wow! Such a powerful blessing and promise!