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Article: Stop Asking 'How'

Stop Asking 'How'

Often times, I wish I can just know the how in life. How to get there. How to prepare this or that. How to make it happen. How, how, and more hows. 

Maybe you don't know what I am talking about because maybe you are completely fine and happy with living life in uncertainty. You enjoy the adventure of the Great Unknown. You live each day as it comes and soak in the present comfortably. You are so okay with not knowing the how. Perhaps you would rather not know the how.

Kudos to you. And I mean it.

I wish I can enjoy the adventure of the Great Unknown too. But no, I am not there yet. Day and night, I think about how to make things happen. As the saying goes, 'dreams don't work unless you do', right? When I think about the dreams I have, I think about what I need to do to make it happen. All the steps, from step 1 to step 9863410 (and more). I want to know all the how. Oh how I love instruction manuals, could someone hand me one now, please? Preferably one titled 'How to make your dreams come true'.

But today, I felt challenged to let go of the how.

Maybe it's true that we aren't meant to carry the how. Maybe it's all true and wise when people always say 'Let go and let God', 'Do your best and let God do the rest'.

If you are like me, unconvinced at times with these 'inspirational' phrases, go ahead and read Mark 4: 26 - 29. 

The Parable of the Seed in Mark 4: 26-29 jumped out at me today as I was pondering about how to actualise these God-sized dreams.

And He was saying, “The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil; and he goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows—how, he himself does not know. The soil produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head. But when the crop permits, he immediately puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

If you didn't go 'huh what?!' in your head, please read it again:

The sower casts seed upon the soil. 
He goes to bed and slept soundly throughout the night.
He wakes up in the morning and the seed sprouts and grows.
He himself does not know.
The seed continues to grow till its fullness.
Then he reaps the harvest.

Did you read that? All he did was to cast the seed and go to bed. And he slept all the way till morning. He didn't toss and turn in his bed and worry about whether the seed is growing. He slept through the night. He rested well.

His job as a sower is to cast and sow the seeds. He didn't know how to make the seeds grow. He. went. to. bed. and. got. up. by. day.
And when the time is right (or ripe), he reaped the harvest.

Again, if you are like me, you need to know the how in life to function, may I suggest that perhaps the instruction manual looks like this: 

  1. Do only what God has said. Do not worry about the things He has not yet or did not say.
  2. Go and rest. Sleep without worrying.
  3. Watch and wait for His timing.
  4. Reap the harvest.

Not knowing the how in life also allow us to grow in humility and not risk claiming the credits for the success of anything. In the words of Paul from 1 Corinthians 3:7, let us remember that neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. 

Oh Lord, help us to let go of the how in life and remember that Your word is a lamp that shines bright enough for our next step, and not a floodlight that shows us the entire life journey ahead. Give us faith to trust you for every step of the way as we venture into the great unknown.

Disclaimer: I am not advocating the idea of laziness, and just sitting idly, waiting for things to happen. I am saying do all that God has asked of you, do it with excellence and joy, then wait. Wait for His timing. And stop striving. Stop asking the how and trust God to do His work. 

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