Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The WHY of it all

I am fairly certain that my least favorite word in the English language is "Why?"

Today in the car, my three year old and I had a conversation. It went something like this:

"Mommy, why are we going in the car?"
"We're going to have a play date."
"Why are we going have a play date?"
"Because it's Faith's birthday."
"Why is it Faithy's birthday?"
"Because this is the day she was born."
"Why did we stop, Mommy?"
"Because its a red light."
"Why did we go?"
"Because the light turned green."
"Why did we turn this way?"
"Because, Gabe! Because I said so!"

Yes, the word 'why' is currently the most hated word I can think of. I'm considering dubbing it a banned word in the Martin household.

I was thinking just today that my other kids all went through the dreaded 'why?' stage, and I remember being so relieved when they grew out of it. They no longer question why we are turning a certain way, or why we are stopped at a red light, Thank God.

They get into the van, put on their seat belts (while Gabe asks 'Why?' he has to wear his) and trust that I know how to get where I'm going and what the rules of the road are. They sit back, relax, and don't worry. They know that I will take care of them.

This is a lesson I could stand to learn.

I am doing a study of the books of First and Second Peter, and last week there was a question that stuck in my heart like a burr.

"Why do you think we, as Christians, suffer from hardship and pain? Does God allow it? Does He cause it? Is it part of His will? Why?"

That was the question, and I have to admit that I struggled hard to come up with an answer.

Because there isn't a good one.

Saying that God causes, or allows, suffering...it makes my stomach hurt. I literally couldn't write down that response, even though I think there is scriptural precedent supporting just such an answer. Certainly God allowed Job to suffer, and Jesus to suffer.

And my stomach is hurting again.

Because I've suffered too, and dwelling on on the reasons WHY, and coming up with the answer "because God allows suffering" ...that makes me angry.

WHY WOULD HE DO THAT??? Why would He take my little sister, while she was still young, when she was serving Him so faithfully?? WHY?????

And people quote the verse "ALL things work together for the good of them that love Him..." and I want to shout "WHY THIS?????? I don't want this to work for my good! I don't want this at all! WHY?"

And we're back to that word, and we're back to my hatred of it. Because if I start asking WHY?? I will drive everyone around me, and myself, crazy.

What that word really means, when I ask it, is "I want to understand the reasons."

Except I can't.

Because I'm not the driver.

The path the Lord is leading me down, the road of my life...I am only the passenger. I gave my life to Him, I climbed into the back seat, and put on my seat belt, and all He asks is for me to trust that He knows where we are going, and He knows when we'll get there, and He knows where to turn, and when to stop, and when to go.

He knows.

Does He intentionally lead me through pain? Does He cause my suffering?

Does it matter, really? Does my son's questioning of everything make my love for him and my desire to do what's best for him any less hard for him to understand? He can't grasp things, and so he questions them.

But if he would just trust me...we would all have a more peaceful car trips.

And the lesson is now clear.

The WHY of my life doesn't matter, not really. The WHO is what matters.

He leads me, and He's with me, and He loves me, and He catches my tears, and He DOESN'T WASTE MY PAIN.

That's what I am choosing to focus on. My pain gives me a unique opportunity to tell others in pain that "You will never understand WHY...but He is still good. And He is still Sovereign. And He still loves you. And you won't be able to see it, maybe not for a long time, but He will work in your life in this suffering, and you will know Him better on the other side."

I say to Gabe "Because I'm the Mom, and I said so!" But what I mean is...

Trust me, child. I'll take care of you, no matter what.

That's what He says to me too. And He says it with much less exasperation, I'm certain.

And so, the word WHY is officially banned from my vocabulary. Because it makes my trust waiver, and it chips away at my sense of relaxation...and it helps nothing, because the answers aren't knowable this side of heaven.

But I can know peace, and trust, and joy in His presence.

And that is much better than understanding why.

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