Would you ever hop in a car without knowing your destination? I have.
Our family used to have elaborate road rallies. We’d pair up with a partner and hop in a car, not knowing the destination or route. Just before we took off, my cousin, Kate, would hand us a list of directions and clues.
We had to locate specific information along the way. Kate’s cleverly-worded clues made it like a scavenger hunt.
At the dead end, turn right. How many birdhouses does the Italian family own?
On that road, we’d spot a house displaying an Italian flag. We’d count the number of birdhouses and move on to the next set of directions and clue.
Prizes were awarded to the pair who got the most correct answers in the shortest time. Part of the fun was traveling unfamiliar roads and not knowing where we were heading. It was an exciting adventure. We’d wonder, What’s over that next hill? Where’s Kate taking us?
But, not knowing where a crisis is heading can be terrifying. Helping a child who’s suffering with mental illness (MI) can be complicated. It’s hard to know what’s going on. Waves of wondering overtake our thoughts.
I wonder if my son is really feeling better. I wonder what he’s thinking. I wonder if he is taking his medication. I wonder if he’s isolating at school. I wonder if other people know what’s going on…
Wondering about the present causes us to carry a burden we’ve been invited to relinquish. We don’t need to carry our heavy load of cares. Peter reminds us to, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
Wondering about the present often leads to wondering about the past. We secretly feel responsible for our child’s suffering.
I wonder if I missed something. I wonder if I should have done something more. I wonder if I should have found a different therapist. I wonder if this wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t so busy…
Wondering about the past causes us to feel guilty. Christ’s own disciples wondered the same thing when they saw a blind man. They asked Jesus, “‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ (John 9:2.)”
Christ’s answer relieves us from unnecessary guilt.
“‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ said Jesus, ‘but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him’” (John 9:3).
Then there’s the future wondering. MI can be so unpredictable. It’s difficult to see a clear path of recovery.
I wonder where this will lead. I wonder how bad this will get. I wonder if my marriage will survive this. I wonder if I can endure watching my son suffer. I wonder if he’ll be able to graduate. I wonder if he’ll be able to work. I wonder if he’ll experience another breakdown. I wonder how much stress he can handle. ….
Wondering about the future often leads to fear and worry. Christ said, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34). God knows your needs and has promised to care for you.
Here’s a verse that will remind you that He’s guiding your steps and He’s got your back.
“The Lord will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard” (Isaiah 52:12b).
None of us chose this trip with our child’s MI. We didn’t hop into a cab and say, “Please take us into downtown MI. Be sure to take the route with the most winding roads.”
Thankfully, we’re not on a journey driven by a taxicab driver. GOD is in control of our journey.
My problem with wondering is all about wandering.
I find that I fall into a snare of wondering when my thoughts wander from Him. The more I think about God, the easier it is to rest in His care.
How would you ask God to remove your wasted wondering?