The ‘why’ question

It’s definitely been some time since I last posted anything. The last month or so has been a little crazy, but finally I’ve had some room to wind down. Not that I haven’t written anything; actually I’ve written quite a lot. Including 2 essays, a few pages of revision notes, and some hastily scribbled exercises while sat in a London office. But even in my spare moments, even when I had any mental energy, I wanted to write a blog post and nothing would come. Any half-formed notions quickly escaped my grasp; other ideas were born of – to be quite honest – resentment, and that’s not what I wanted this blog to be about.

Maybe that’s how life is sometimes, this inability to grasp situations. At least, it’s been a bit like that for me. For months now, one of my biggest questions to God has been the all-too-familiar ‘why?’. Why have my family been experiencing so many trials recently? Why do I find it so hard to let things go? Why did this person hurt me? Why is that person suffering so terribly?

Although it probably sounds that way, I wasn’t angry or bitter towards God. It’s just, when the answers don’t come when I demand them, it’s easy to slip into doubt and fear. Psalm 27:14 says ‘Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.’ I’ve discovered that’s much easier said than done.

I’m not sure that having the answer to my questions would make it any easier to accept the situations. What would be the good of it? In fact, maybe ‘why’ is generally not the best question to ask God at all. Even when good things happen. I know God gives some people specific visions, and calls them into certain ministries or fields that require foresight and planning. In my experience of God’s working in my life, though, things have just happened, and not made sense until afterwards.

Maybe that’s God’s personal way of dealing with me, but when I think about my experiences so far, knowing why probably wouldn’t make me feel more reassured. A couple of months ago, my university department forwarded us an email from a London based company, looking for 20 undergraduates for a 2 day crash-course in how to write better. The company writes for business, and I knew I didn’t want to do that. But for some reason I felt I should apply, so I did that reluctant-surrender thing where I went ‘Fine, God, I’ll apply. I don’t understand, but I’ll leave it with you’. A few weeks passed; I didn’t hear anything and almost forgot about it. I’d given up, but then they called me to say I had a place. And when the actual event came, I got so much out of it. It was a seemingly small thing in the bigger picture of my life, but one that I think will have a lasting impact. But if I asked God why I did that, would I be ready for the answer? If I asked God why I care so much about kids, would I accept it if God told me I was supposed to devote my life to working with them? Would I be able to cope with knowing the good and the bad God is preparing me for?

The answer is simple: Probably not. That’s where patience comes in. And faith; stubborn, unrelenting faith that clings to the truth that God never gives us more than we can bear, never has anything short of the best outcome in mind, and never allows us to suffer without making it work for our good.

Despite the hard stuff, God has been amazingly faithful. In just a few short months, so many prayers have been answered. My every need has been met. I’ve been so blessed. Even this weekend visiting my friend’s home church, I was reminded that God knows exactly what he’s doing. Over and over again, He amazes me with the sheer fact that He forgets nothing and delights in using every situation for His glory.

With all this in mind, I’m realising I need to drop the ‘why’ question. In the end, it’s going to be fine.

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