They just asked.

My knee still hurts. It’s been too many months of not running, and my most recent attempts to get back into some of the active hobbies that I enjoy have all been a mess. I woke up this morning and added “make Dr. M. appointment” to my list of things to do for the day. I looked up the number on the appropriate website, jotted it down in the margin and will call that number to schedule a time for Dr. M to poke and twist and look at my knee to attempt to figure out what’s wrong with it. If it were the problem that he first suggested and with which Physical Therapy Dude agreed, it would be better by now. But it’s not, so I have to go back.

Dr. M, clearly, is an orthopedic doctor. I wouldn’t have gone to him if he weren’t. It would be silly to make another kind of appointment for this problem. Sure, I’m up for a visit to the dentist, but I never for a moment assumed that I could make that appointment and say, “hey, while you’re cleaning my teeth, could you figure out why my knee still hurts?” No, that would be silly. Actually, it would be down right absurd. I’d get a strange response to that question…one that might wonder if I were either joking or of solid mind. It just doesn’t make sense.

Typically, we don’t ask specific questions to people who would have no answer. I don’t ask my dad about my mom’s recipe for Italian beef. My teacher friend wouldn’t be who I turned to for tech support. And I don’t go to the dentist to ask about my stubborn knee. I go straight to someone who can answer the question based on the education and experience that create credibility and authority in my life when it comes to what might be causing such a frustrating knee problem.

I ask because I am seeking an answer on which I can take action.

There’s this book in the Old Testament of the Bible that’s filled with the history of Israel in a time when judges (think renegade teenagers for God…similar, but different) were sent to the Israelites to guide them back on track with their lives. Some of these stories are comical. Others are sad. And some are ridiculous. The start of this section of the Bible records a conversation that seems too logical and normal to be noticed but is actually quite worthy of discussing.

“After the death of Joshua, the Israelites asked the Lord, ‘Who of us is to go up first to fight against the Canaanites?’ The Lord answered, ‘Judah shall go up; I have given the land into their hands.'”

-Judges 1:1-2

It’s not an uncommon conversation. God has a specific task assigned to the Israelites. There’s a piece of land that was taken from them and is occupied by the big bad Canaanites. God wants them to get it back to the rightful owners. But Joshua, their leader, has died, so they are at a loss when it comes to what they should do next. Instead of taking this into their own hands (at this point), they ask for direction and expect an answer. They wouldn’t have asked if they didn’t expect an answer. Why would anyone bother asking such a question if they didn’t think that they’d not only receive an answer but also that the person providing such an answer had the authority and wisdom to do so.

The funny thing is that I sometimes forget to ask God when I’m trying to make decision and looking for wisdom. I know, logically, that the Lord is intricately involved in my life, caring about even the most tedious of all decisions, but I fail to ask him for guidance, forgetting that He will answer. I haven’t quite figured out what those answers look like and sometimes still find myself at the intersection of indecisiveness and confusion when the decision needs to be made, but I do know that I should probably ask more often. I ask my friends, I journal my thoughts, I consider my “gut” …but I forget more than I’d like to admit to consult the One who loves me more than I can fathom. He might just be waiting with an answer.

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