When you don't understand something about God, you can choose to allow frustration to grow into distrust, or you can submit your need to know why.
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
God, I don't understand why my friend has cancer again. She's a young wife and mom. She loves You and her family. Why, Lord?
Have you ever asked God a question like that? I sure have. In fact, there's lots I don't understand about what happens here on earth. Like why people fight wars for power, leaving innocent children like my two little adopted daughters with life-long scars, inside and out. Like why people cheat and betray each other. And why hard working, honest men and women can't find jobs.
My list of questions is quite long. And when I focus on the "whys" of life, frustration and fear crowd out faith. It's not wrong to ask God hard questions. He doesn't seem to mind. However, when we don't resolve the seemingly unanswered ones, our faith can get shaken.
The hard truth is, many times we won't get answers to our "why" questions. And yet we believe we deserve them. Maybe it's because we can answer most questions using Google in under 10 seconds. Do we think God should be just as fast and on demand? Perhaps we are obsessed with trying to understand what we don't need to.
On a recent airline flight, God used a moment of fear to give me insight into this issue. It had been years since I'd been afraid of flying, so it surprised me. I'm not a pilot, nor do I understand physics or aeronautics. So when the plane took an odd bump, my stomach jumped as well.
Immediately God brought Proverbs 3:5 to mind: "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." With that Word of truth, something shifted inside my heart and mind. I didn't have to know the "why" to have peace. I just had to know "Who" ... and He is completely trustworthy.
The whys of life can consume me, because I want to know answers. All the time. To big questions and little ones. Like why there is war. And why someone put an empty carton of milk back in the refrigerator. But that's just not always possible. The truth is, my understanding is human, frail, and woefully limited. It's hampered by emotion and colored by fear. It's also incomplete. On the other hand, God's wisdom and knowledge is perfect.
God doesn't need to explain everything to me. It's hard to accept, but true. I'm learning that I have a choice when I don't get a satisfactory answer to why something happened. I can choose to allow frustration to grow into distrust, or to submit my need to know why.
I still don't understand lots of what happens here on the earth. But I do know God can be trusted. And when I don't get an answer that makes sense to me, it's an opportunity to gracefully submit my limited understanding to God, and lean on Him.
Dear Lord, I praise You for being all-knowing. There is nothing that escapes Your eyes. Right now I'm facing some things that don't make sense. And when I lean on my own understanding, I feel shaky. Help me to submit my questions to You, and trust that You have everything under control. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
How do you tend to react when you don't get answers to your questions from people around you? From God?
How has God proved Himself faithful in the past in your life? Remind yourself of these times when you feel your faith shaking.
Isaiah 55:8-9, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (NIV)
Proverbs 28:26, "He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe." (NIV 1984)