Why has always been a word that comes very quickly to mind, even if I don’t speak it. I like to tell myself that it is natural curiosity, the researcher in me, the wanna-be scientist buried deep inside of me, the former journalist looking for truth…
Yeah. Okay. Or maybe, just maybe it is the rebellious child who is frightened, or discouraged, or leery of something that is about to happen that she really, really, doesn’t want to be a part of. Maybe you’ve been there, that point when the question becomes an emotional But Why? instead of just Why?
I did a quick look on a Bible search site and found that in the whole Bible (ESV) just the word Why is noted 432 times. I was surprised. I thought the use of the word would be more frequent. I discovered that some 289 times it can be found in the Old Testament; 143 in the New Testament. On reading through some of the cited verses, I clearly could see my own various attitudes when it came to asking Why?
So now, the question is, why But Why? Something had to lead up to this blog post, right? Yeah. Because sometimes it goes far beyond those things we want to understand in order to control. We see world-wide that people are dying violent deaths, and people are being diagnosed with terminal diseases. We see and know of people who look into what used to be their well-stocked pantries and now are seeing just empty shelves; if they still have a home that once had a pantry. As the rain comes down, and the flash flooding is threatening, worried eyes are on the rivers in the Midwest, wondering when they will flood again. We discover yet another job application has been denied, leaving more weeks ahead with no money coming in, or we ache with the knowledge that our children are twisted up in a dangerous world where truth and lies are confused and intertwined.
I’m sure everyone has lifted frustrated hands, frustrated eyes skyward and muttered, screamed, or just silently voiced But Why? Even those who don’t believe an answer is there. Even those who don’t believe that there is anyone who hears and cares.
But God hears, in whatever form you ask. He not only hears, He listens to the depth of emotion behind the But Why? Not because He needs to hear it to know, He knows everything already, but because sometimes we are so bottled up with emotion we need to express it to find release. He understands, and in the process of us asking our questions, He desires that we are able to come to recognize just how much He does care. No, we don’t always get a direct answer. Sometimes when we do get an answer it isn’t one we like. But, as believers, if we trust in His Sovereignty, understand that His plan is solid, sure, and for our ultimate good, then we can accept that we don’t always have to understand. That as long as we trust Him, and the more we understand who He is, the less we’ll find ourselves asking But Why?
More and more I am finding this true in my life. Sometimes I just sigh, admit I just don’t get it, affirm my trust in Him, and go on. Sometimes it takes much more than a sigh. Especially when it comes to the hard, hurtful things. Still, I believe that whatever happens here and now on this Earth is temporary. A place to learn and grow and finally, when the time is right, to be with Him. Forever. Forever in a new world, where there is peace and order and righteousness.
Why do I believe that? Because He said so and by faith, I believe. In the years I’ve studied the Bible I have come to understand and rejoice in the reality that this inspired Word of God is full of history, testimonies, and promises of the Kingdom of God, both here and to come, that will guide us through whatever meets us head-on. I know there will always be a But Why? when the child in me rises. But, like a child, I can ultimately look at the Father and know His love and accept His direction because He is much wiser than I could ever hope to be, and I am confident He has my best at heart.
That doesn’t mean the pain in the world ceases to impact me. The Christian life was promised trial and tribulation, but it is a life that can be lived in His peace. The impact of the pain and distress I see on a daily basis draws me nearer to my Lord to pray for what I see, what I hear, what I know to be horrific burdens some people carry. What I also know is that some people who have walked through some of those terrible times in their lives are the very people used by God to minister to others.
There is a plan. Not only do I want to believe it, but I have to believe it. Especially on those days when my human frailty calls out But Why?
Next blog: Time to go.