I’ve stared at this blank page for a long time trying to figure out how I could paint the picture without including details, but I can’t. And so I won’t.
You see once again I found myself asking “Why?” The rest of the question isn’t really significant, I suppose. The beginning is what we all have in common. We’ve all asked “Why…?”
God is not offended by our asking why. He understands that we crave the answers to that complex question. He knows that we believe that if we could just wrap our brains around why then we could breathe a sigh of relief, nod our heads in agreement and proceed forward in trust and contentment.
But He also knows we’re wrong about that.
Having the answers to our why questions wouldn’t give us peace; only drawing close God in trusting prayer can give us the peace that surpasses even the knowledge of why.
God’s peace doesn’t come as a result of understanding the whys; it trumps it. Still, we can ask. And we do.
I’m currently reading an amazing autobiographical book by Laura Story (yes, the artist behind the popular song “Blessings”). In her book When God Doesn’t Fix It, Laura tells the eye-opening account of learning to cope and thrive in the life God carved out for her and her husband Martin following his diagnosis of a brain tumor. If anyone had a reason to ask God why, she did. And she did ask that very question.
But Laura shows us, through the biblical account in John 9:1-7, that eventually we have to allow Jesus to turn our whys to hows if we want to experience healing and hope.
The Biblical Lesson
In this passage, Jesus’ disciples ask Him why a beggar was blind from birth. Was it due to his own sin or his parents’? The disciples are trying to make sense of a difficult, sad and confusing situation by understanding why it happened. Like us, they believe if they can just grasp why then they can nod their heads in agreement and have peace. But Jesus knows the answer to their question will not bring that kind of peace. He shifts the focus from why to how.
Jesus says, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was in order that the works of God might be displayed.” Well that response would have just given me more whys to ask. But Jesus won’t supply further details. He wants His disciples to see that the question should no longer be why, but how.
- How might this man’s physical blindness help him see more of God?
- How might this man’s blindness draw him closer to God?
- How might others see more of God because this man is blind?
- How might God be glorified and made known through this man’s blindness?
Truthfully I’ve been given the answers to some of my why questions. I imagine you have, too. As I’ve prayed and searched the scriptures and listened to wise counsel, sometimes God has opened my eyes to see the explanations I so craved.
But those answers didn’t give me peace. They just sparked more questions.
Because, as Laura points out in her book, I can’t see my situations clearly from God’s perspective, I also can’t see how the whys fit into His bigger picture. And even when I can nod my head in agreement with His plans, my heart still longs for things to be different. My heart continues to ask why.
Laura’s Tool for Changing Your Questions…and Bringing Healing
I love practical theology. I love it when someone helps me apply biblical principles to my little ol’ life. And that’s what Laura does in When God Doesn’t Fix It.
Laura suggests you take the time to write out all of your why questions on a sheet of paper. Fill it up! General and specific. Bold. Inquisitive. Rhetorical. Mysterious. Remember, God is not offended or put off by our why questions. So prayerfully and honestly pen them before Him.
But then Laura tells us to flip the sheet of paper over and write the how questions concerning our difficult situations. She gives some starter suggestions. The following come straight from the pages of her book:
- How might God use your current trial to glorify Himself?
- How might God use your weakness, infirmity or disability to display His power?
- How might God use your hard circumstance to show you something about Himself?
- How might God use your hard circumstance to show you something about yourself?
- How might God use your pain for a purpose?
- How might God make this mess into a message?