When You Have More Questions Than Answers

by | Sep 14, 2012 | Five Minute Friday

His duvet wrinkles from sweat the night before. I pull it up and brush my hand underneath in the empty place to feel the warmth that lingers. The breath of God in the absence of the body, it calls me to worship. I want to kneel down and lean over the bed rail right there in thanks.

Don’t let me take it for granted Lord, the way a heart beats healthy and strong.

It seems I have more questions than answers on most days lately. The way locusts are leaderless insects, yet they strip the field like an army regiment; lizards are easy enough to catch, but they sneak past vigilant palace guards. (Proverbs 30-27-28)

I sit on the porch of small change, offering consolation to a friend suffering. I listen to her tiredness, and see it there, shouting for attention. The way the light shows up in my lowliness.

I’m holding phone in one hand, camera in the other trying to catch the light and keep it all in focus. My mind, my heart, my ability to see and hear stretching out in tandem.

And I think most of life’s questions wave clothes pinned on the line unanswered, like the mystery of the locust and lizard. Because silence in my need to know outcome reminds me that joy hangs in the wait of trust and eludes me in the quest for answers.

There is something beautiful in what I can’t see through.

Linking with the Five Minute Friday community with the one word prompt: Focus.




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  1. schnooter

    WOW! This is beautiful. I love “the way the Light shows up in my lowliness.” There is so much more in each of your words that it is almost like this piece is alive because it allows the reader to feel like an active participant when (I) read it! so awesome!!!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Giving thanks for the way His words resonate with you. Sometimes it feels like a wrestling match to get them out. So glad you dropped by and left a comment.

  2. kelliwoodford

    Shelly, you have written this from such a place of worship. When we pin God down and box Him in as something defined and confined, we forget just what you said, that there is beauty in what we can’t see through. Yes, He is revelation, but He is also mystery.
    Love that part of Him — of life — too.
    Beautiful post.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I had one of those gifts of a morning where everything I read, saw, touched, tasted, smelled and heard was like standing in His throne room. I go through seasons of feeling the nearness of His presence and I cherish every minute.

  3. Stefanie Brown (@stefanieybrown)

    Beautiful words and imagery, my friend! I’m in the waiting phase, believing joy is just around the bend.
    I appreciate you and your ministry through words.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Me too Stephanie. It’s a good place to be.

  4. Lynn Morrissey

    An eloquent post, Shelly. You write with more beauty and depth every time. I think perhaps some of the “beautiful we can’t see through” is mystery. God Himself is mystery, and He doesn’t give us all the answers, and as you suggest, the joy comes in waiting on and trusting Him. Not seeing is an invitation to trust. Not having all the answers is an invitation to humility. The older I get, and the longer I study God’s Word for life’s answers and to know Him, the more I find that I do not know. This has been a sobering on-my-face realization and was at first quite disconcerting–an upheaval of my soul and the solid ground of what I thought I knew (part of which was man’s “traditions” and my own.) But now, rather than seeing this alteration of knowledge as an eroding of my soul’s foundation, I see it as a plowing up of my pride. Rather than such upheaval ultimately depressing or confusing me, I think it is drawing me closer to God, allowing me to bow my head to His mystery and to my need always to know. I think sometimes “not seeing through” actually helps me to *get through* to God in my utter dependence on Him. I am better able to reach out to Him when I don’t attempt to do so on the wings of my pride. Thank you so much for this incredible reminder, Shelly! I needed it!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I’m nodding and saying amen to all you say here. Going from being undone by upheaval to being drawn close to His chest. Perhaps that is one of the gifts of growing up in Him. I’ll take this place any day over those of the past.

      • Lynn Morrissey

        Amem, Shelly. Amen!

  5. Tanya Marlow

    And I think most of life’s questions wave clothes pinned on the line unanswered, like the mystery of the locust and lizard…There is something beautiful in what I can’t see through.

    This is pure wisdom – and I’m so in that place at the moment.That photograph is beautiful, and the perfect image to accompany that thought. Thank you.

    I’m sending you much love.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      My pictures often inspire the stories. This was one of them, along with a walk I took listening to a song. Love to you too Tanya.

  6. Brenda @Triple Braided

    “Because silence in my need to know outcome reminds me that joy hangs in the wait of trust and eludes me in the quest for answers.” We are about to welcome our first baby in a few weeks. I have been overwhelmed with the outcome of it all. Not just the birth, but her whole life. I just want everything to be right. I am realizing that by focusing on “the answers” I’m missing the joy of today and will miss the joy of tomorrow. Thank you for this. It is beautiful!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Oh, I can relate to where you are Brenda and congratulations by the way. I am such a planner and like to know outcomes so I can be prepared mentally and emotionally. But I’m re-training myself to rest in what I don’t know and trust. It’s like a new discipline for me really. I hope in the next few weeks you will enjoy every detail of being full with new life.

  7. Lynn Morrissey

    Shelly, I love serendipity! Just after I posted I LITERALLY read these 2 quotes about knowledge assumptions: “One of the most dangerous assumptions we can make is assuming we know more than we really do.” (Mark Batterson) and “Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know.” (1 Cor 8:2, NIV). This is what I was trying to say about myself. To me, this “not knowing” is mystery.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I just love the way God does that. I’m in a season of that right now and its like getting a gift every day I didn’t know I wanted.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      So glad Eileen and really, you need to know what an encouragement you are to me too. I mean that with all sincerity.

  8. Heather Kopp at SoberBoots.com

    Shelly, you are such a poet. This is such a beautiful moment you captured. Thanks for sharing it.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      That means so much coming from you Heather. Thank you.

  9. Jean Wise

    Beautiful worship filled words. I just drank them in. You quenched my thirst today.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I had a full day of worship, felt His presence with me like a tall glass of water. We were both thirsty.

  10. Emma

    “There is something beautiful in what I can’t see”. “I can’t see a way through” that has been my constant prayer this year. It is good to be reminded that regardless of if you can see it or not God has something beautiful planned. Thank you for your words here Shelly, they are a daily encouragement. Emma

    • Redemption's Beauty

      He’s always at work, even when He is silent. It’s a comfort isn’t it? So glad to know you’ve been following along Emma, thankful you left a comment.

  11. Denise

    Your heart shines.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Aw, so good to connect with you Denise. Thanks sweet lady.

  12. Danelle

    This was so delicate and exquisite.My favorite words here: “joy hangs in wait of trust and eludes me in the quest for answers.” Such. Truth. Nothing steals joy like control, demanding the answers in our own time, not His. Thankfulness for the present, trust in His timing and His ways, that is where the joy is found. Always. I am just nodding and smiling.
    You are gifted writer with a beautiful heart and I love you dearly friend.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      So true Danelle, nothing steals joy like control. I have this “need to know the outcome” syndrome that I’m trying to shed one day at a time. It’s really an excercise in trust and faith. Love you much.

  13. DollyL (@SoulStops)

    yes,”joy hangs in the wait of trust”…I am always amazed and blessed at how you string those images up in words for us …thanks, Shelly 🙂

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I think in pictures and metaphors, sometimes it’s hard to turn it off in my head, but mostly I’m grateful for the way God made me that way. Thanks Dolly.

  14. altarofheaven

    Absolutely beautiful how you worship God in all you do…your writing really shines His light brightly. Hugs to you!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I pray it does, or it’s worthless. Thank you, love visiting with you.

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