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Turning our "Why?" into "Why Not?"

Sometimes, we find ourselves in an unwelcome season of life--whether it's a job situation, relationship issues, or just walking through emotional pain. We usually don't understand why it's happening. We want to know the answer to the question, "Why?" We think that if we could just understand why this is happening, then it would make it so much easier to walk through this unwelcome season.

I liken our lives to a road trip to Disney World. I can tell the kids all about Disney, Mickey, the shows, the rides, the characters. I can tell them how it's the happiest place on earth, and that they will have so much fun once we get there. But they will still ask incessantly, "Are we there yet?" "Can we stop?" "Why do we have to drive?" "Can we get some food?" "How much longer?" and other equally annoying questions. As the mom, I know the destination is amazing, but the journey to get there can be arduous. There will be pit stops; there may even be an overnight stay halfway there. There could be car trouble, or any number of things could go wrong on a 1,200 mile journey. The final destination will be the happiest place on earth if they will just have the patience to ride in the car, and if they so choose, they can really enjoy the journey as well.

To make road trips more fun, I always plan excursions along the way. Some of those side trips can be amazing. I mean, why would we not want to stop at Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans for some beignets or the Shed in Ocean Springs for some barbecue? Why not stop in Destin and dip our toes in the ocean? Are we too focused on getting to Disney that we forget to enjoy the ride? We forget to enjoy life? And we have to remember that as with flat tires and car maintenance on a road trip, life comes with setbacks.

We know that the plans God has for us are to prosper us and give us a hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11) We know He is leading us to not just the "happiest place on earth," but truly the greatest place in the universe. But yet when things don't go our way, we ask, like whining children, "Why?" "When am I going to have this?" "When will I be able to that?" "Are we there yet?" We're asking the wrong questions.

Before we can get to the questions we should be asking, we have to make sure we understand what God does and doesn't promise us in the Bible. God never promises His children that they will not face struggles or heartaches. What He does promise is that He will never leave us or forsake us. (Duet. 31:6). God didn't take Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego out of the fiery furnace; He placed an Angel in there with them (Daniel 3). He doesn't tell us He will remove us from an evil situation, He tells us He will be with us when evil is all around us. He doesn't tell us He will prevent us from having to walk through the valley of the shadow of death, He tells us that when we walk through it, He will be with us, so therefore we have nothing to fear. (Psalm 23:4) He doesn't tell us that He will take away our enemies, He tells us He will prepare a table for us in the presence of our enemies (Psalm 23:5) And the kicker to all of this is that we don't have to do anything but trust in Him. He tells us that He will fight for us, and all we have to do is be still (Ex. 14:14). He will give us strength and power (Isaiah 40:29).

So when we are trusting in God and being still, our question must change from "Why?" into "Why not?" Why should we not face suffering and heartache? Why should we not go through trials? We live in an evil, fallen world. One in which God had to send His Son to die on the cross to redeem us. We are not righteous--not one of us (Romans 3:10). The only reason we aren't condemned to hell is because our righteousness comes through faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:22). We were supposed to die and go to hell, but yet, by grace we are saved by Jesus' blood on the cross (Eph. 2:8).

Jesus knew loss; He knew betrayal. Jesus knew longing; He knew suffering. Yet God didn't take any of it away from Him. In fact, God sent Jesus to earth in order to suffer--to show us strength in suffering. How arrogant are we to expect God to take away our suffering, when He didn't even take away Jesus' suffering? How prideful are we to think we should be elevated above Jesus?

Imagine the kids in the car after a blown tire. In whining voices, "Why do we have to pull over?" "I don't want to stop!" "Why do you have to ruin my road trip?" "Why won't you just take the tires off the car?" Or what if the kids blamed us for the blown tire? What if they tell us they don't want to be our children anymore because we didn't avoid the road hazard well enough? As parents, we would think these questions and comments were ridiculous.

All we need is for the kids to be still and know that we will change the tire. Mommy or Daddy is right there. We want what's best for them, and changing the tire is what's best. Maybe we have to take the kids out of the car. Maybe we will have to take the car to the shop, but we are taking care of it. The kids don't necessarily understand the big picture of car maintenance, and they don't have to yet.

"Be still and know..." God wants us to just be patient and know that any time we get a flat tire, He is going to change it for us. We need only to be still. The road trip isn't ruined, and this setback is only for a moment.


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