I was sitting with my husband, as I normally do each morning, reliving a regular occurrence. He’s rattled with pain, trying to hold it together, asking again, “why?”
He has several health issues, including a degenerative disease. We’ve lived through this for nearly all of our marriage- 5 children, 26 years. We’ve tried everything. From juicing to special diets, to Chinese tinctures, cleanses, supplements, therapy and drugs.
And we’ve prayed. We’ve pleaded for healing, spoken it, and believed for it. Yet, no healing has come. This morning, his tear streaked face revealed a heart with a thousand hurts. He said, “I don’t need to be healed. I just think if I knew ‘why,’ I could endure. Just to know why God has chosen to leave the pain. That this pain has a purpose.”
Dumfounded. I no longer have words. The encouragements of yesterday, the clichés, even the scriptures we’ve quoted and prayed and memorized fail me in this moment. So I just sit and offer my presence.
When the season is long and the suffering immense- “Why?”
The why questions are everywhere, aren’t they? From the childlike curiosity whys to the deep heartache whys. We all have them. Why does this trial continue? Why doesn’t God rescue my child from this battle? Why do I still struggle with that sin? We know the scripture addresses trials and tribulations, but we desperately desire to understand what it means for us. I mean, we can generalize about suffering. We know its overall purpose. Suffering is a great teacher. We identify with Christ through suffering. But we’d like the specifics please! Why this trial?
Job felt this way. Job asked why. But God never revealed to Job the why. Never. But He did something better, when God didn’t give Why, he gave Who.
Then Job replied to the Lord:
“I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you.
You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’
“It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me.
You said, ‘Listen and I will speak! I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.’
I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.”
Once Job saw the Lord, everything shifted. I believe he was answered, not with a reason, but with a person. The Lord revealed His own greatness. He revealed His own majesty. He gave Job a glimpse of Himself. Job’s eyes were opened.
God gives God. It’s a profound idea. Yet when we cannot get our eyes off of our own experience, it is this beautiful God, who draws our eyes and shows Himself in His splendor, and says, “I am enough.” He gives us a glimpse of Himself and leads us into a holy place where he abides full, and then fills us.
When our focus shifts from why to who, we receive the peace of a sustaining Lord. We get joy. The whirlwind of why is enveloped in the joy of trusting Him.
For me, this journey is about giving up. Giving up on my questioning, and trusting in the One who knows. God has His reasons. I have Him. I’m learning to make this TRUST word my mantra. So I don’t have the answers, but I do have Him.
While I’m waiting for all things to be revealed, I choose to look into the eyes of a person, laying down the why and letting Him be the Who.