All of us can struggle with wanting answers to our "why's." For that matter, for our "what's," "who's," "when's" and "how's" as well! Andrea Lucado walks us through our struggles with no answers and offers us what God does give: himself.
Questions and More Questions for God
By Andrea Lucado
This week was rife with disappointment for me. Some hopes I had were dashed. We all know this feeling, don't we? We see a glimmer of hope in a possibility, we try to not let our hopes get up but we just can't help it and before we know, we are feeling hopeful, giddy, joyful and then, something happens and ... pop, the air seeps out of our balloon, and we are left looking at our deflated hope lying at our feet.
In these moments, I always ask one question: Why? Why, God, would you let my hopes get up only to be disappointed? Why did this happen? Why didn't this work out?
I was asking that this morning during my "quiet" time (which was less quiet and more like a frustrated rant) when I came across this verse about peace:
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1
I knew that this verse, a simple verse that lays out the story of the gospel, should bring me peace. I knew that the gospel should be what I needed to help me in my disappointment, but I also knew my heart. The gospel did not feel like it was enough for me. What I wanted instead, were answers. I wanted answers to all of my why questions.
God and I have been over this before - my need for him to answer all of my questions. But I quickly forget the things of God, and this morning he needed to remind me. He needed to remind me of the river.
I lived overseas in Oxford, England to get a master's degree, or so I thought. Really, I was there for so much more. Oxford is the year I wrestled with the big questions: What do I really believe? How do I know if God exists? Would I still be a Christian if I hadn't been raised in a Christian home?
I spent a lot of time that year walking a path beside the River Thames. It was near my house and I would walk or run its muddy trail several times a week. As doubts swirled around in my mind and heart, the river brought me peace. It was steady. That's where I went when I needed to think or pray or be alone. Looking back on that year, that's where I met God.
I so often think that being a Christian means I get to ask God all of my questions and he will give me all of the answers. Who is my husband going to be? Where am I going to live? How am I going to make enough money as a writer? Those sorts of things. I want a "fortune-telling river." Somewhere I can see all the answers spelled out on the surface of the water for me. But this is not what rivers are for.
And God reminded me of that this morning as I asked him "Why? ... Why? ... Why?" He didn't tell me why, but he did tell me a gospel truth: He is with me. He sees me. He knows what's happening even when he doesn't tell me why it is. And it was in this promise, and not in an answer, that I felt overwhelming peace.
I moved back to the States from Oxford several years ago, but I brought that path by the Thames with me. I walk its muddy trails often and although, like today, I peer over the edge from time to time to see if it has anything to tell me, my hope now is changing. I don't want the fortune-telling God, I want the God who is with me and knows me, and I want our conversations to be less about the what, when, why and how and more about the deepening of a relationship as the river flows and flows and flows.
Andrea Lucado is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. She is the author of English Lessons: The Crooked Path of Growing Toward Faith and blogs regularly at AndreaLucado.com. She has a masters degree in English literature from Oxford-Brookes University and contributes regularly to online and print publications such as Relevant magazine and SheReadsTruth.com. When she is not conducting interviews or writing stories, you can find her laughing with friends at a coffee shop or running in the Texas hill country. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter: @andrealucado.