Have you ever had a conversation with a kid who just learned the word, “Why?” As soon as they learn that they can actually question and understand the meaning of something, they want to know about EVERYTHING.
“Why are we going to the store?” “Why does it rain?” “Why do I have to take a nap?” “Why did you draw that flower on your arm?” “Why do you have that ring in your nose?” (Those last two are my most frequently asked questions from small children.)
Then we get older and our use of this word changes completely. That purity of heart that a little kid asks that question with is no longer our natural response. We ask it in our deepest frustration, anger and uncertainty. “God, why are you doing this to me?” “Why haven’t I made any progress, when I feel like I’m fighting so hard?” “Why did I lose a loved one?” “Why did this terrible thing happen to me?” (All valid questions, by the way.)
I’ll be honest, this season of my life has been one of the most challenging and refining I’ve ever walked through. So much is still uncertain. So much is still developing in the unseen. So much I’m not sure I’ll ever actually see come to pass. I’ve been finding myself often asking that frustrated, exhausted, uncertain “Why?” to God.
And here’s the reality about this adult-hearted why vs. the child-hearted why: most often, when I ask this question, I’m not genuinely looking for an answer from God. I just think I have a right to be upset and complain and throw my arms up in frustration at Him, hoping that when He hears my “Why are you doing this to me” cry, He will feel sorry for me.
Did anyone else used to do this same “arms up, why are you doing this to me” maneuver when they knew they were about to be spanked as a kid? OK, I’m sure my dad felt a little sad that he had to discipline me, but that trick never once got me out of a spanking. He knew what I needed was more important than what I wanted.
But somehow this concept gets lost in translation when I’m thinking of the way God the Father disciplines and trains me. I revert back to that “Surely I don’t deserve this, please don’t make me do it” mentality.
So here I am in this season of my life where every day feels like I’m trying to run up the down escalator. I’m taking steps forward and some circumstance pushes me right back to where I just was, so I’m just running and running, trying to beat the pace of the people and things that I think are pushing me backwards.
It’s exhausting! I’m chasing dreams that I feel like I may never actually reach. I’m looking up at all these things I feel like God has clearly promised and called me to, and they still feel so far away. I’m tired, and I’m asking Him all the time, “Why am I here?”
Last week I finally stopped to listen to His answer. “Sara, don’t you remember what I told you this season was about when you moved a year and a half ago? You’re being prepared here.”
I was so humbled in that moment. This is what I signed up for. He even gave me a choice, and this is what I picked! We moved to Waco to be trained and prepared for the next step in our life. Waco was never about arriving, it was about being shaped and molded for whatever’s next.
It’s so easy to lose sight of the big picture in the mundane and the every day ups & downs of our lives. So easy for me to forget that what He spoke way back there is still lighting my path way up here, like an eastern sunrise lighting a westward road. And what a kind reminder that it’s always been my heart to be traveling, anyway. I love movement — it’s a sign of progress, even when the road is bumpy.
So from now on, when I ask “why,” I’m checking the posture of my heart in that question. Am I using this word as a complaint because I’ve not gotten my way, or am I asking this question with a pure heart, genuinely curious at what God is doing?
He answers when I call, and every season of my life is ultimately pointing towards more of Him. This is what we were made for — to go from glory, to more glory, to more glory, until we just step right into glory forever.