From the time we were little we’ve had a favorite question, “Why?” Every small child loves to ask why, to understand the reason behind whatever they are observing. It’s just not enough to learn the who, what, where, and when about something. Without knowing the why, we can’t understand motivation, cause and effect, action and reaction, or how to progress, correct, or avoid mistakes.
It’s a really good question, and most of the time we can get an answer to it. However, life holds many areas and events that leave us without any clue to the reasons behind them. Even the questions asked by children, when they continue asking why to each answer, will often lead us to a precipice with no logical path to follow.
We eventually come to a point where the only answer we can give a child is that God made it that way. He is the creative Person who chose to make each color the way we see it, give each resource the properties it holds, and hang each star in its location. Why? Because He wanted to. It amazes me to look at the beauty and variety in creation and realize that He could have made it completely different. It could have been all flat and colorless, without seasons, variety, or change. He could have created just our solar system to maintain life here, but He chose the universe instead. He could have made all people to look the same with just one identifying mark. He chose this endless variety because He wanted to.
Those are the simpler questions. There are much harder ones. Why are children suffering? Why are people exploited? Why did this tragedy occur? Our sins and choices make up some answers, but there are many questions that drive us to our knees before God and bring forth the gut-wrenching, “Why???” I have not suffered in this life like many have, and I don’t presume to know the extent of that pain. But I have seen people go through suffering, and have asked the same question in sympathy with them.
I believe when we seek God in the midst of our pain, we may come to a point where we are able to find a bridge over that gaping canyon of unanswered “whys” and “what ifs”. Christ, Himself, is that bridge. His love and presence in our lives carry, support, and bring stability when we can’t put one foot in front of the other. Stepping onto that bridge may feel like stepping into thin air; it may even feel like a betrayal of the person who was lost, but it is not. We may, at times, even often, still take a peek over the side and see and feel the depth of that dark and rugged canyon. Right then, we must hold on tightly to Him. He will not let us go. The bridge may be really long, perhaps as long as our lives, but it is rock solid and will not fail us.
After time the canyon may not look as deep and we may see rays of light reaching its floor. Later perhaps there is something green, and even a few flowers here and there. The walls of the canyon rise so slowly, and as they do they become more beautiful and we can smell the fragrance of life, sweet memories, and the promise of an eternity without pain.
As I said, I have not suffered as you may have, and you have my greatest respect. I have seen many of you go through pain I cannot begin to imagine with grace, courage, and unwavering faith. It is your example that proves these realities to me. God understands our pain even when He doesn’t answer all our questions. He has given Himself as the bridge and path of peace. No one walks that bridge alone; we need to join our hands together and strengthen each other. We can know without a doubt He will not forsake us or let us go.
Psalm 34:18; Ephesians 2:14; Hebrews 13:5