Have you ever hit a fork in life when you have asked, “Now what?”
You might be thinking of the last time you put together a 1,2,3 step project out of the box. Only it didn’t turn out so simple or sturdy as the picture on the package.
Perhaps a relationship comes to mind, one of those impasses that grows like a weed with complicated strands. It might hinge to a child, spouse, school or church. It could relate to a job or financial issue.
“Now what?” often finds us in a perplexed, frustrated, confused and sometimes painful crux.
This week was a big “now what,” for me.
I’ve lived through them before. I expect I’ll live through this as well. My husband, the ever cheerful earful, finds his way through them in a much more balanced way than I do.
And so, like most of these relatively small crises, he waits on the other side of my dark tunnel, solid and ready to take on the world. I crawl through in the mud on bloody hands and knees, banging my head against the cement at regular intervals while I listen to my ranting echo in my personal tight spaced agony.
We kinda work well as a team.
During this current banging of my head, I read Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. The encouragement in his second book seemed directed at me.
We do not lose heart
“Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.” (2 Corinthians 4:1 NKJV)
The ministry Paul refers to from the previous chapter is a ministry of hope which is ours through Christ, the fulfillment of God’s law through Moses.
Paul repeats this admonition again later in the same chapter, with a wonderful promise.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16 NKJV)
This idea of losing heart was not just Paul’s issue. David struggled with despair, Elijah felt it when Jezebel wanted to kill him, and Jonah wanted to die when the people of Nineveh repented.
And sometimes I lose heart too.
The original word meant to be utterly spiritless, wearied out, and exhausted.
Like one who throws his hands into the air and sighs, “Now what?”
Or like someone ready to simply roll over, give up, and cries, “Now what?”
Or maybe like me looking at a fork in the road, banging my head against the cement while the echo of my despair bounces off the tunnel with, “Now what?”
It describes a heavy heart, emotionally exhausted mind, and physically tired body.
But, Paul is saying, while all this is happening, because of this ministry of hope through Jesus Christ, something extraordinary and opposite also happens inside. We are being renewed day by day.
Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.
Anakainoo—“renewed.” We are being made new. We are given new strength and vigor. We are being changed into a new kind of life as opposed to the former corrupt state. This trial which exhausts us also causes us to mature. Anakainoo comes from a root word which means, made fresh.
Jesus takes the spiritless exhausting “Now Whats?” and makes from them something fresh and new. Moments like this week feel like the pits. We all go through them. And we ask the Father, Now what? Jesus takes the spiritless exhausting “Now Whats?” and makes from them something fresh and new Click To Tweet
When everything looks black and hopeless, Jesus points us to glorious hope.
As I focus my heart in prayer and delve into His life changing Word, I recognize there is much more than I see happening. God is still in control. And I wait to be renewed.