What’s Next?

It’s quiet here. Maybe it is where you are too.

The Christmas tree stills stands in the corner, but no one rushes to turn on the twinkling white lights anymore. Its trunk, once adorned with gifts, is bare.

With the hustle of Christmas coming to a close, our homes grow still. Often our souls do too as if to take a deep breath. And in the silence, we ask questions.

What’s next? It’s a question I’ve asked a hundred times this year and one that I’ll ask each day leading up to New Year’s.

Perhaps you’re asking questions of your own. Maybe it’s been a year filled with joyful surprises. Or maybe it’s been one marked by pain. And so you too ask, What’s next?

It’s easy to ask the questions. But it’s harder to answer them—or to wait for them to be answered.

But if we’re brave, if we’re willing to lean into the silence and wait, we’ll find something better than simple answers or simplistic platitudes. We’ll find a God who stands above time and space and yet meets us in our questions.

His answers are never trite. He never dismisses our pain. He leans in and listens and tells us just what we need to hear.

And sometimes his answer means that we must carry on with our questions a bit longer than we’d like. God invites our questions, but he doesn’t always answer them. At least not in the straightforward way we’d like. 

Instead, he calls us to something far more courageous—to trust. Such trust strips away our dependence on the things we once clung to for safety. It exposes our false beliefs about who God is and how he works. And it pulls us in closer, showing us more of God’s true character and nature.

In such times we finally realize that what we need most isn’t answers or solutions. We need God himself. And often we find him most clearly in the silence and in the questions, as we listen closely and search his Word.

So as you put away your Christmas tree and tuck away the gifts you received, let the silence linger. Don’t run from it or rush to fill it. Instead, let the questions come.

You might just find that the answers you’ve been looking for are right in the midst of the stillness, with the one who stands above our days and yet stepped into them—God with us. 

Amanda DeWitt is a freelance writer, coach's wife, and mom. She completed her bachelor’s at Dallas Baptist University and holds a M.A. in media and communication from Dallas Theological Seminary. When she's not typing away at her computer, she's chasing her two little boys or watching her husband coach high school football.