Have you ever felt like you were asking a lot of questions, but somehow you couldn’t find answers to them? I’m guilty - I admit to asking a lot of questions. I could reason and justify it by saying that I am a naturally inquisitive person who refuses to receive things at face value. However, that doesn’t quite capture my nature, namely my ever-so-present 'why' nature. I can’t help but ask, "why" during every trial that comes into my life.
Why, Lord, why? Why does this have to happen? Why couldn’t I just get what I want when I want it? Why must it be so hard? Every question seems to be so heavily laden with blame and disappointment and pointed right to God. However, the more that I study the Bible, the more I feel chastised and humbled. I have been asking the wrong questions. I have been using the wrong lens or perspective in viewing my blessings and my trials. Have you ever felt this way? Have you ever felt like you have things planned and they seemed okay, and then suddenly, things go awry?
There are a number of passages in the Bible that speak on this concern, but one that has been repeatedly been a constant reminder to me at this point in time is the verse found in Romans 8:28, "God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose." This passage has taught me the following truths:
1. God is in control. The first part of the verse starts with, "God causes" meaning that He is in control and He knows exactly what He is doing. In theory, most of us know that but while we are in the situation or recovering from the after-effects of a trial, it becomes easy to forget. However, embrace this truth - God is in control and He holds my life, your life and everyone in His hands.
2. He uses all things to work together. God uses blessings and also allows suffering in order to keep our focus and dependence on Him, to refine us and build our character and to teach us valuable lessons. He loves us that much!
3. He has good plans in mind, far beyond our perception. Like Jeremiah 29:11 says, He has plans for us, plans to give us hope and a future. God also is the perfect time keeper and His plans are never late.
4. Our response is very important. This verse highlights the importance of our heart condition as renewed by Christ in that all things will work together for our good when we love Him first and foremost. This is not a means to say that everything good and peachy will come to us, but that when we love Him, we become completely surrendered to His will for our life.
5. His purpose trumps any other purpose there is. God created us to glorify Him and to worship Him. That is our original purpose and when we have surrendered our life to Christ, He works in us so that we worship Him with our life.
6. It’s not about me, but about His glory. A well quoted line from John Piper says, "God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him." Ultimately, everything that happens is not about us, but about God’s glory. The end point is always His glory, in everything.
That realization humbled me, greatly! God has placed in my heart a prayer in response to the "why" question that plagues me so:
"Lord, grant me the grace to see with Your eyes, move with Your hands and feet and have love just like Your heart. Please search my heart and continue to renew my spirit as I walk through valleys, knowing that my life, when wholly surrendered and satisfied in You, You are most glorified. I praise You, knowing that You love me and that You walk with me in any valley and You bring me out of it. Thank you for bringing friends into my life who speak the truth and love You with all their hearts too. Amen."