Can You Trust God with Your “Why?” Momentsby Cynthia Jennings on May 12, 2021
Recently, I sat in early morning silence attempting to read God’s Word, but the word “why” kept running through my brain. Before I knew it, I was in a joy-stealing loop: Asking, Lord why so much violence? Lord when will this season end? Why? Why? Why?
Do you ever find yourself tripping over painful events? Maybe a tragic experience, loss of loved one or betrayal that has left you in a jumbled mess. Or maybe the “smaller” trials of life have culminated into one big ball of hurt in your heart.
Regardless of the reason, you might find yourself hung up on the age-old questions of “Why?” It’s one of the earliest questions we learn to ask, and it remains on our lips when difficult situations occur in our lives. Although we pray and read the Bible, that nagging question has an uncanny way of keeping us stuck and oftentimes hijacking our joy.
The morning I got stuck on that question, God graciously stopped my negative mental spiral by reminding me of what some of our spiritual giants endured. There’s Joseph, who spent years in servitude and prison after being sold into slavery by his brothers. (Genesis 37:12-36). There’s David, who had to flee the palace for his life and endure years on the run to escape the sword of King Saul (1 Samuel 21-23). The woman who bled for 12 years (Luke 8:43-48). And then there’s Paul. He suffered multiple beatings, imprisonments and an intrusive “thorn in the flesh” that God never removed (2Corinthians 12:7).
Yet unlike my why-riddled thoughts, Paul wrote these extraordinary words:
“16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self-is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17).
Paul’s perspective stuns me, for his trials were anything but light and momentary! And yet he held fast to God’s bigger version for his life. How could a man with plenty of “Why?” moments exhibit this kind of faith? Paul’s secret to his steadfast trust is revealed in 2 Corinthians 4:18: “as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
Paul grasped the critical truth that, on this earth, we see only part of the story. And through our tangled web of troubles, God works to accomplish His unseen, eternal purposes. Paul understood that God will weave the “Why?” moments into something beautiful and far more valuable than the temporary earthy comfort we often crave.
We see this truth in action as the Bible records Josephs ascend to power in Egypt and David take his anointed place as King of Israel. The woman who bled for 12 years and her faith filled tenacity that led to her healing. And Paul’s perseverance resulting in many of the treasured books of the New Testament.
Those confusing, painful “Why?” moments they endured each played a crucial role! For without descending into the dungeon, Joseph could never have ascended to power. Without the chaos of persecution, David could never have worn the crown. Without the 12 years of bleeding the woman could not have experience the power of Jesus’ healing. And without his tribulations, Paul could never have spread the Gospel through the new world.
Our heavenly Father wants to use your “Why?” moments in the same way. We walk in hope, knowing that God’s strength renews us each day. And in His strength, we get to decide that our “Why?” moments will no longer keep us stuck or steal our joy. We serve a God who turns misery into masterpieces.
PEARLStoPONDER: When the “Why” moments become overwhelming, begin to thank God for the unseen eternal work that will create a beautiful masterpiece.
Psalm 34: 19--Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.