I Try Not to Ask Why Anymore
Last winter, on one of the coldest days of the year, me and the little one got bundled up and headed to Chick-Fil-A to take advantage of their free iced coffee deal. I live on coffee, and besides the cold, it was actually a really pretty morning. Sunny, clear blue skies with a complaint-free car ride. My little one even stayed calm as we placed our order—sitting chill on the counter, only politely rummaging through the gift cards. We were the only two people in the restaurant, which was kind of nice. If my darling girl started any of her usual hysterics, we’d not be interrupting anyone else’s meal. And, more importantly, the play place was free reign.
I got her buckled into the high chair, was unzipping my coat, and the server was placing our food on the table, when my daughter, completely out of the blue, threw up everywhere. Her shoes, my shoes, the table, all over herself. She seemed to be fine, but I had a few tears in my eyes. Suddenly, this just about perfect morning took a very unexpected and unwanted turn. Life does that sometimes, huh? What a sweet little lesson I forget every now and then.
After this angel of a server made it seem like she was thrilled to clean up my child’s puke, I bundled us back up, threw the unopened food in the diaper bag, and snatched up my coffee to go. I was truly disappointed. I was proud to have gotten out of the house and excited that the little one would be able to exhaust some energy. Naturally, my mind went to that common little question, “Why?” Why did it have to happen like that? Why did the big snow storm come just in time to get your flight canceled for a long-awaited trip? Why did the basement flood? Sometimes, what happens is even worse. You lose your job, your spouse cheats, or your loved one is diagnosed with a nasty disease.
I wish I could say that the WHY is important, but I’ve come to learn that it isn’t, and we very rarely find out WHY anything happens. Why does anyone get cancer? Sure, we could say it was because Uncle Bob smoked for 30 years, but so did Grandma Sally and she died at a ripe old age of 96 having only been to the hospital to deliver a couple babies in her earlier years. We don’t go through struggles just to learn WHY we went through them, but rather to learn the WHAT and deepen our FAITH to get through. What is God doing? What is He teaching? How will He see us through? Can my faith be made stronger to endure even this? These are better questions.
I’ll admit, as I was telling my husband our delightful throw up story later that afternoon, that stingy little question popped up. “Why did that have to happen? It was such a nice day,” I whined. It’s easy to get caught up in the WHY. We want answers, right? Why would God allow such a thing? Why would life seem to be going so well, only to leave us bulldozed with news of something devastating?
I’ll never know why my husband got laid off earlier in our marriage, leaving us in what was a devastating financial crisis. I’ll never know why I have chronic back pain that I keep praying for the Lord to take away, but it's still there. I’ll never know the why to most things in my life. And I’ve come to a peace about that (mostly and inconsistently), but really, I’ve just accepted this as the way it is. Because God has so much more for us than simply letting us know WHY things happened the way they did.
| You let people ride over our heads, we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance. Psalm 66:12
I will never forget the first time I ran across this verse and how it cut into my heart. It explained so much. You see, the Father is refining us. He is pruning us. He is sanctifying us and transforming our hearts. We feel it happening. We will go through the fire and water, but make no mistake, our good and faithful Father will bring us to a place of plenty. When life’s annoyances happen, or when the deep grievances come… we can hope and trust that God isn’t far off, but right there, leading us to show more grace, more love, and to bear more of His fruit. And while we're going through the storm growing in righteousness, He will be leading us along the path through and out of the trial.
God is in control, always. He’s not blind sighted like we are at times. He already knew and already has a way through for you. Don’t lose heart, don’t give up, and don’t let your problems bury you.
| Meditate on the promises of God’s word that speak to your hardest, darkest moments.
Jesus has overcome the troubles we face. John 16:33
We are given a peace that surpasses all understanding. Philippians 4:7
God will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6
He hears those who call upon Him in truth. Psalm 145:18
We have a hope, that Jesus has prepared a place for us. John 14:3
His yolk is easy and His burden is light, we can cast our cares upon Him. Matthew 11:28
There are so many more promises that shed light on God's grace during the troubles we will have, but these verses have offered me great comfort in my toughest times, or even when those more simple aggravations come up, like when a lovely morning gets (literally) puked on.
Author: Pamela Palmer