Does following Jesus mean we don’t get to ask why?
Have you ever been around a small child? They want to know the why about everything. “Why are tires round?” “Why is the sky blue?” “Why do fish swim?”
The kinds of questions you haven’t asked yourself in years and frankly you probably don’t know the answer or you don’t know how to explain it to a child.
I think as Christians, we often feel guilty when we ask God “why?” Sometimes I have pictured God as a frustrated parent, sick of hearing my why questions. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Sometimes I fear that if I ask why, He will think I am doubting His character. But God knows me better than I know myself.
One of the biggest whys in my life recently has been the question “why am I still single?” A week ago my little sister got married, my two best girlfriends and my best guy friend - all in incredible relationships with Christian men and women, I often feel I am surrounded by relationships, like the ninth wheel. I am genuine when I say I couldn’t be happier for them and love each and everyone of them so very much, but it does leave me, at times, wondering if I missed the relationship train somehow?
Oh and did I mention that they are all younger than me?
I have given up everything to follow Jesus, and I say that not in a pitiful way, because I am living an adventure greater than my imagination, often that is the life God gives us when we sacrifice for Him (but that is another blog post, for another day.) I get to travel and adventure all over the world pursuing a skill that I love, it is an amazing life, but I do it, for the most part, alone. I can’t tell you how many flights I have taken alone, meals I have eaten alone and movies I have watched alone over the last few months, that is my current reality.
And sometimes I have been afraid to ask the big, ad question of “why”.
Here are some unwavering truths, that I honestly do not doubt, if I did, I would have given up this way of living long ago. I do not doubt that God is good, that He is faithful and that He always gives me his best. Not just good, for good is the enemy of great. But sometimes between good, like a “good relationship” and great, like a “we’re getting married relationship” is the journey of loneliness and “no relationship.” God only wants to give us great, if we are willing to sacrifice and follow His path to obtain it.
Sometimes I think that if I ask why, it means that I do not trust that He is a good, faithful and a best-giving God. So I hide away my emotions, my pangs of loneliness, pretending they are non existent. But I have come to disagree with that idea. I believe that in my heart I hold those facts about God steadfast, I ask “why” because often times I simply just don’t understand His goodness.
I found myself tonight, with my head on my pillow tears rolling silently down my cheeks (you don’t get to cry out loud when you have sleeping roommates) Asking God, why.
Why do I have to spend another Valentines alone? Why do I so often have to fly and travel and live alone? Why is there no one who truly cares about the small details of my day the way a boyfriend or spouse does? Why?
The World often tries to answer that why for us. Here are a few that I have heard:
“God will give you a boyfriend when you’re ready” I’m calling bs on that answer. I have seen multiple people go into relationships before they were “ready” and they work out and even serve the Lord together. I mean are we ever really 100% ready for a relationship, or a marriage or a family? We are all imperfect people, covered by grace. God’s timing is His own, it’s not “hit level 23 of Christianity and meet your husband.”
“There is so much you can do as a single person without having to worry about someone else” That answer is somewhat true, I get to, in a very real sense make decisions about my life around what is best for me and what I want to do. I can travel freely and even not have a plan. Yet when I look and see the amazing things that Christian couples can do when they are committed to each other and to the Lord. I know that my husband and I will serve the Lord together in adventure and love one day.
“Only God can completely fulfill you” Now this statement is true. If I look to my (future) boyfriend or husband as my only source of joy, hope and happiness then he is sure to come up short and I am sure to be disappointed. But God also created mankind for relationship, He says so in Genesis before He creates Eve. So I can, in fact, believe that my desire for relationship is not only natural, but it is God given. As Christian women I feel we are often pressure to feel shameful that we want to be in a relationship, that somehow that means we are not fully dependent on God. But I believe that just as Eve was created for Adam, I was created for my husband, to support and to serve him, and so my heart longs to be with him, I will not be ashamed of that fact.
There are many more reasons the world may try to explain our whys to us, and for some of you reading there might be many more you have heard that come to mind right now. But the truth is that the world may never be able to answer our “whys”. Most of the time the world’s explanations fall short, because there is no way this broken world can predict what an all-knowing God is doing.
But that doesn’t mean that God doesn’t want to hear our “whys”.
The one thing that God couldn’t stand was a broken relationship with us. He sent His son, a piece of Himself, to be tortured, killed, sent to hell and raised from the dead so we could be saved. Saved from sin, yes, but … why?
Why save us from sin?
So that we could have healed, restored and fulfilled relationship with Him. That is what He was desperate and willing to sacrifice such a great cost for, intimacy is what He died for! Not so we would be afraid to approach Him, hiding behind our mask but so that we could be real and raw with deeper intimacy and relationship with Him than with anyone or anything else.
So ask Him your whys today. He knows your heart and it won’t be too much for Him. Be real and raw before your maker. You may not know the answer to your whys for many years, or even ever at all. Yet I know that on my wedding day when I look into my husband’s eyes I will say “Thank God I waited for you, it was worth every day I spent alone.”
To be honest with you, tomorrow is valentines day, and I am very likely to cry again as my heart aches for my future love. I will most likely once again ask God “why” but I believe He would rather me ask Him, than anyone else. He may not answer me tomorrow, or they next day of for a long time, but He will have my heart, my intimacy and my relationship none the less, and I will know that despite my unanswered whys, He is so, so good to me.