Three Powerful Words

“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Now you shall see what I will do…'” (Exodus 6:1a)

When I was single, life was simple. And then you’re married. Living with your spouse is wonderful, but you also start feeling that a part of your life is out of your control, because you are living with another human being who, in many ways, is different from how you act and think. And then you become a parent. Having kids is a blessing, but you also soon start finding yourself constantly dealing with rebellious little monkeys in the house who try your patience and limits. Life is not simple anymore. Sometimes you cannot make sense of it.

I love my wife Wendy and my son Chase. I love Wendy for her spiritual wisdom and insights, and I love Chase for his cheerfulness and intelligence. But we are all human, and we are all sinners. We sometimes have bouts of ugliness in our family life like you can’t imagine. There are times, perhaps after arguments with Wendy, or perhaps after dealing with recurring discipline issues in Chase, that I get frustrated and ask myself what’s going on? My answer is “I don’t know.”

Sometimes the next thing this leads to is that I will undergo some mental exercise to figure what’s wrong and devise a plan to “fix things.” Other times, I might flip through my books or I would search the web to look for advice on how to deal with family situations.

But there was one time when I answered “I don’t know,” the Holy Spirit stopped me and wanted me to take a pause. Rather than moving too quickly from “I don’t know” to finding my own solutions, He gently moved my heart to pray. After I prayed and asked God for His guidance for the matter at hand, this sentence popped into my heart: “Every time you think the three words ‘I don’t know’ is when you should realize that you need God.”

I think we all habitually go too quickly from “I don’t know” to “Let me figure it out” or even (for men) “Let me google it.” But “I don’t know” should be treated as three powerful words. Every time we say “I don’t know” is when we see an impossible situation that underscores our need for a Savior. As they say, God specializes in achieving the impossible.

I learned this lesson from Exodus 6:1a. In Exodus 5, Moses asked Pharaoh to let the Israelites leave Egypt, but Pharaoh turned around and added impossible labor burdens to the Israelites. So Moses grumbled to the Lord, complaining that God did not save them. And how did God reply? He said, “Now you shall see what I will do…” (Exodus 6:1a). It’s as if God was saying, “That’s the end of the line of what humans can achieve, but now, it’s God’s turn to act!”

So every time you think of “I don’t know,” also think that God delights in us acknowledging our need for Him and to look to Him to achieve the impossible.

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One thought on “Three Powerful Words

  1. I think we have mistaken for a long time. The problem started at Genesis 3 when Eve picked the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil thinking that she, on her own, CAN decide. The problem persists until today when we believe independence is gold and the norm. We speak in terms of “I know,” “I can,” and ultimately, “I am.” However, it is just because of these “I”s that we get into much troubles. So, the way to go really is, as you have said, “I don’t know” for we should know who knows the best. We are designed to live with Him, for Him, and to depend on Him. We don’t fully understand the implication of 1 Corinthians 2:6-16 today.

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