How do we grapple with the questions that arise in our life? The difficult circumstances of life often provoke some of the most difficult questions that can disrupt, disturb or disconnect our relationship with God or amazingly they can cause us to draw closer to Him.
Last week I received news that an old friends young grandson (he graduated from high school in 2015) passed away in his sleep. As of now, I don’t know if they even have a medical reason. He just went to sleep and did not wake to another day on this earth. Reading his obituary it sounds like he touched many lives on his abbreviated life for which I am sure his family are so thankful. However, I am sure as they navigate life with a hole they are struggling with the ”why” question.
It has been seven years since my husband’s debilitating stroke and while my hole has become more bearable, it is still with me every day. My children still miss their father and for most of our grandchildren, grandpa is just another story told. I know he would have added such a wonderful dimension to their lives and I can only wonder, “Why”.
I’ve learned that these type of “why” questions don’t really produce much faith. Yes, they are real and must be grappled with, but as I’ve been walking single I have to choose not to focus on those type of “why questions”. The type of questions that lead me forward are those that asks, “What now, Lord?” What would you have me do now? Jesus is not afraid of our questions. In fact, He liked to ask questions–307 of them in fact in the gospels! Most of them he didn’t even bother answering. He just left them out there for the hearers to think about them. I think maybe he responds to my “why” questions in the same way–letting them hang in the air so my own ears can hear their feeble cry, and understand the foolishness of them!
It is not that He doesn’t care, it is just He has a time and place to reveal His purpose and plan. I’m beginning to see and rejoice in my new life. More compassion, more patience with others, more openness to His servants leading are some of the fruits that I see in my own life. I’m glad I have more time to interact with my grandchildren and help lighten their parental load at times. I’ve come to understand God’s love and acceptance for me in a much deeper level as I sought/seek for my new identity in Him. These are all part of the things He has promised to work out for good in my life. I am so grateful for them.
I listened to a Facebook clip by Angelina Jolie the other day, posted by one of my friends. She received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian award during the 2013 Academy awards ceremony. During the acceptance speech, she wondered out loud “I Don’t know why I was born and given the opportunities I was, while there sits another woman in a refugee camp with as much talent, drive and energy as I” (paraphrased). She ended with the encouragement to make the best use of the life we’ve been given. That is my desire. To make the best use of the life I have been given and to live with as much courage and trust as I can.
If I were to concentrate on the all whys of my life, I should be asking why my children were born whole and healthy, why others are born with disabilities. Why did I enjoy a wonderful happy marriage, while others struggle with abuse and pain? Why were we adopted at eleven months of age, while other children struggle with a life in the foster care program?
Maybe instead of asking, Why me, Lord? I should be asking, why not me? Again, it comes down to a place of trust. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Verse 12 In those days when you pray I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. 14 I will be found by you. How encouraging to know that when I seek Him, I will find Him. His Presence, Peace and Purpose are revealed as I choose to walk with Him. I could stand as a little kid and throw a temper tantrum–but that wouldn’t change things. As I learn to accept my situation, both the good and the difficult I see myself moving toward maturity. In the meantime, there are so many hurting people who need our love, compassion and understanding. As I reach out to them, I become even more grateful for my own life. I realized, by the grace of God that when I focused on all the whys of my life–life itself was passing me by. I am grateful for His patience during my “why” stages and I am grateful for His leading me past them. Will I stumble back into them, maybe! But He will once again, lead me through the valley of the shadow of doubt and whys–which is actually one aspect of death, isn’t it?
Father, I ask you to help everyone find their way through their own muddles of “why”, bring peace to every hurting soul and I thank you for the Presence of your Holy Spirit in to comfort, lead and direct us.