We all at one point or another ponder the “why”. Why did this happen to me? Why today? Why now? Why ever? Encountering difficult passageways is a part of lifes journey. No one difficulty is the same. Each one hits at a different time in a different way. In most cases, we aren’t ready for it. We grapple with so many questions along the way. But one always persists – Why God? Why?
Now if you are smart, you will only utter that thought when you are alone and never out loud. If you do, and certain personalities are around to hear you, brace yourself because you are likely to be told either:
1. God never gives you more than you can handle
2. It is the mystery of God. We may not understand until we get to heaven.
After that sage advice, you might have a second question – Why did I even ask? Being left wondering “Why?”
At this stage in my life, when I am in the midst of a crisis, I have learned that pondering “why” is the most unproductive thing I can do. Regardless of the situation I am in, there are details that require my attention and tasks that need to be done. Those details and tasks can only be accomplished if I remain focused. And every day I trudge through the hardship, I must awake with some hope. And if I am consumed with the unanswered “why” I am distracted and hopeless. And I get it. Somedays we just need that escape because the reality of what we are facing is so hard. But, the reality is that we all wake up the next day in the same spot.
A year before I headed to college my fathers eyesight began to depreciate. It was the beginning of a series of mounting challenges to his health that would lead him to eventually require a kidney transplant. My heading to college and remaining focussed was a challenge. I'll admit at times when the phone would ring and the call was from home I would panic. The letters I got from my father with the 2 inch characters deepened my concern. Of course I wondered why. Why did I have to spend my first Christmas break with a sick dad? Didn't he deserve better? Why did I have to return to college two days after my dad got his kidney transplant? Why couldn't I stay with him?
But, I had to stay focussed. In the midst of all my parents were facing, I could not become another issue. Also, I had gotten a fantastic financial aid package. If my grades slipped - slip away would go my money. I had to trust that God would take care of everything that was going on at home. This wasn't something I mastered right away. But, I had to keep trusting. I had to believe Gods promise that He causes all things to work together for good to those who love God....(Romans 8:28). At some point this would all make sense and the "why" would come into focus.
It wouldn't be until the Summer of 1998 that one of my "why's" got answered. At that time my husband had begun to have some interuptions to his vision. Ironically he and my Father had been diagnosed with diabetes in the same year. As it turns out my Fathers vision complications gave us great insights and helped us get the helped we needed very early on in the process. The normal anxiety wasn 't much of an issue because we already knew so much going in. I never would have known back then that it would all work out this way. There would have been no way. I didn't even know my husband yet.
Making the pondering of “why” into a religious exercise would have been so easy. A simple change the question from “why” to “what is God trying to teach me through all of this.” It is indeed critical to be listening to for Gods voice. That is a daily practice as he reveals himself in the simplicities and complexities of our day. But, we needn’t be so consumed with hearing him that we don't hear him at all. It's like those picture with the dots. You stare and you get really close looking for the image to pop out. It doesn't and you get frustrated. Then someone walks by and says step back and then look. And just like that you see it.
Now God isn't that instantneous - but sometimes we really can't see the forest for the trees. Being in my 40's now I can tell you that some of why's have been answered. And at times I have been blown away. But, I still have a long list. And I have learned to not wait on answers, but to wait on God. I wait - by trusting, by obeying, and by knowing that he does hold all things together (Colossians 1:17). Just imagine if the Israelites had refused to cross the Red Sea. What if they had stopped and asserted "Why did you bring us out to just send us back" Instead, they took a step forward and saw God move. The words to "Oceans" as penned by Reuben Morgan sums up the truth of trusting and obeying, "And I will call upon your name. And keep my eyes above the waves. When oceans rise, my soul will rest in your embrace. For I am yours and you are mine." As we at times enter the dark shadow of "why" feel the warm glow of the Fathers love knowing "I am yours and you are mine."