Now What?

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. 


*feature photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

27 Replies

  1. Marcy Giesbrecht Reply

    Thanks so much Sylvia! I needed to hear this today. 🩷

  2. Jeannie Waters Reply

    Your description of crawling through the mud on difficult days sounds familiar because I, too, sometimes fall into that mindset. How thankful we are that once we look up, God is ready to help and guide us to a mind set on Christ. Thank you, Sylvia.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you Jeannie. Looking at Christ and not the mud is a great help!! I appreciate your comment.

  3. Sue Vogt Reply

    Thank you!

    • sylvia schroeder Reply

      Thanks so much Sue. I always appreciate that you read my posts and encourage me to keep going!

  4. Lorna Hiatt Reply

    Thank you, I am going through the now what right now. Hugs

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks Lorna. I stopped and prayed for you. May Jesus direct your next steps.

  5. Dee Reply

    Thank you for reminding us all that we will get through each “now what” moments of our lives. Your husband sounds just like mine! A great team!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks so much for joining the conversation! So grateful for others who get what I’m talking about! Also thankful that Jesus is in that tunnel with us guiding and helping.

  6. Jamie Owed Reply

    Thanks Sylvia! This was encouraging to me.

  7. Delphia Wiebe Reply

    Thanks Sylvia! Your words are so vibrant and speak to our hearts with pictures… the dark tunnel, crawling through the mud, banging my head on the cement, all things I can picture and relate to! Thanks for the encouragement!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks Delphia! I’m so glad you joined the conversation and found it encouraging. Quite selfishly, I’m glad you can relate to the head banging!! So grateful for the grace Jesus gives even in the tunnel!

  8. Katherine Pasour Reply

    I’ve had a lot of those “Now what?” moments and I confess that sometimes my reaction is just like yours. I’m thankful God has helped me not to “bang my head on the tunnel” as much as I have grown in faith. But sometimes I still do. Thank you for your thoughtful and inspiring message.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you Katherine. I appreciate your honesty, and I’m kinda glad I’m not alone!

  9. Annie Yorty Reply

    Oh my goodness, Sylvia! I can definitely relate to your experience. Thanks for refocusing me on the hope found in Scripture today.

  10. J.D. Wininger Reply

    I was able to see firsthand how well you and Mr. Phil are together. You are each the same in supporting the other. Also thought about what you said, and we all go there (“What’s Next?!”) now and again, but the key, as you pointed out, is that we don’t stay there and dwell on it. Wouldn’t it be great if we simply asked God first? I know I’m guilty of going to Him last, after I’ve tried and failed to get myself out of that funk. Our “What Next” moments happen, but it how well we navigate them that matters. Great post ma’am. Thank you. You can encourage us even from the depths of your “What Next.” Such a blessing.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you so much J.D. You are very kind. Yes, sometimes it is a matter of knowing Who to go to first. Other times its a definite growing time of finding His will and following what He wants. It’s that navigation which always brings us to His feet…and it’s a good place to be.

  11. Darla Miller Reply

    It’s like you wrote that for me! I’m in that spot right now. Nice to remember that I’m not the only one that has the “What Next” .

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Darla, it’s so encouraging to hear from you. I stopped to pray for you when I read your response. May the Father guide you to the right next steps. Thanks so much for taking time to read and let me know I’m not alone in the struggle!!

  12. Yvonne Morgan Reply

    Amen. God is still in control. I remind myself of that often during those head banging times. Such an important message. Thanks Sylvia

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you Yvonne! I suppose we all have them, but it is always good to hear I’m not the only one! Yes, God is in control, and that is always the best lesson for head bangers.

  13. Adele Reply

    Thanks for the encouragement. I love your word pictures.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Adele, thanks to you as well for the encouragement! I’m glad you liked it.

  14. Nancy E. Head Reply

    ‘Fear not’ isn’t a suggestion. It’s a command. I’m still working on it. We need to understand; He’s got this. All of it.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you Nancy. Fear is such a powerful emotion, and I find I succumb far too often. I love your encouragement: “He’s got this. All of it.” How great to know it and allow its truth to overcome those emotions which can be blinding.