Have you ever wanted to ask God why?
There’s a lot of things that can cause us to want to ask God “why”. Sometimes it’s a difficult circumstance with a friend or family member. It might be hearing of or witnessing the physical or emotional distress experienced by another, or experiencing such distress ourselves. Loss often makes us ask God why. And other times, it’s a sin that we’ve struggled with over and over and can’t seem to battle successfully. All of these circumstances can bring us to the point where we find ourselves desperately praying, “Why now, God?” “Why not now?” “Why this way, God?” “Why this situation, God?”
Recently I found myself walking through a difficult season, a season when, even doing everything I could to push closer to God and preach His truth to myself, each day was an uphill battle! I felt very disheartened, wondering why God was allowing me to go through this struggle; I couldn’t see any point to it. It was awkward, inconvenient, embarrassing, and it wouldn’t go away, no matter how much spiritual sweat I expended or how entirely I relied on God’s power. I started wondering to myself, Why is this so difficult? I’m trusting God to help me, but it doesn’t seem like He is. He’s powerful enough to take this from me, so why doesn’t He?
God led me to share with a godly friend, who is one of my greatest blessings. When I told her my thoughts, her immediate response was, “Have you tried asking Him?”
No, I hadn’t even considered asking Him. After all, we’re not supposed to question God—we’re supposed to submit to His will, trusting that He’s doing what’s best for us. But God is our Father, and when His children cry to Him in their trials, He answers, although maybe not in the way we expect. As I humbly sought the Lord, asking “Father, what is the purpose of this situation? What are You trying to do with me through this?”, the verse that God brought to mind was Romans 5:3-5.
“And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation
brings about perseverance, and perseverance, proven character, and proven character,
hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within
our hearts through the holy Spirit who was given to us.”
What an encouragement to cling to! Through our trials, God produces endurance or perseverance in us, the ability to cling to Him even when the going gets tough. If we cling to Him long enough, the trial passes, and our character has been proven. That proving of our character produces a hope which does not disappoint. When we stick to God through a trial, putting our trust in Him to get us through it, and come out the other side, we have personally experienced God’s faithfulness to save, and as a result we know that putting our hope in Him will not lead to disappointment or shame.
Many times I bring suffering on myself by putting my hope in things other than God. I put my hope in my relationships, hoped-for circumstances, a certain status, or even a certain possession. Whenever I do that, God eventually either removes that idol from me or demonstrates to me how useless it is to try to satisfy myself with it. His discipline often causes me pain as I lose the worldly security and hope that I’ve been using to try to prop myself up, but God is drawing me closer to Him so that I can truly acknowledge, like the apostle Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians, that God’s grace is sufficient to enable me to be content in any situation. Earlier in Corinthians, Paul mentions being burdened so that he “despaired of life itself”. But, he explains, God allowed this to “make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us. On Him we have set our hope that He will deliver us again.” (2 Corinthians 1:8-10)
As Christians, our hope is in a God who raises the dead! We know and have hope in the fact that His power has conquered and will one day wipe out sin forever. Someday we will no longer struggle with things like illness and death, or with the sin that causes broken relationships and tainted thoughts. Meanwhile, as we still struggle to live in a sin-ridden world, we have hope in a God who is powerful enough to sustain us through any trial through which we pass, and who can even take that evil and use it for our good and His glory.
In closing, I’d like to share with you a poem I wrote some time ago.
Acceptance with Joy
When life is hard, and troubles annoy,
Lord, make me Your servant “Acceptance with Joy”.
My attitude problems are pretty severe
When You make me do things I dislike, even fear.
Do not let me fight the trials You bring;
Instead change my heart—let me bear them and sing!
You are my Father, Your plans are the best.
I know I can trust You, and in that I rest.
Anna is a 20-year-old nursing student from Durango, Colorado who is currently dividing her time between her classes and clinicals and all of the fun things she likes doing. She enjoys writing and playing the mandolin, but some of her greatest pleasures are camping/hiking/being in the mountains, doing ministry activities with MasterPlan Ministries at Fort Lewis College, and interacting with people. She loves to see God working in people’s lives, and wants to make herself available as His tool, wherever she may be.
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