There have been some long days around here. I’m not good at sitting and waiting on answers. Not at all! I’m impatient and restless. But I’ve seen plenty in my life to know God doesn’t always give answers.
There weren’t answers for:
Why my hair was suddenly falling out
Why I suffered from infertility for years
Why loved ones died in a senseless car accident
Why a baby died after a short week of life
God doesn’t always give answers.
You know this too:
Why your marriage fell apart
Why your child has a handicap
Why someone abused you
Why there is no diagnosis
WHY, WHY, WHY
And maybe this word WHY messes you and I all up.
Maybe if we could just sit in our holy mess without pondering it, it wouldn’t be as unnerving. But there’s something to this human side of us — we want to know WHY and we want the answer NOW. That way we can blame something, someone, or anything. The truth is we just want to pound our fists and scream THIS IS NOT FAIR!
And today since I don’t have answers, I’m playing the blame game.
It’s those thoughts that run through my mind: I should have taken better care of myself. I should have been more diligent getting yearly check-ups and tests done at the doctors. I shouldn’t have been so busy. I should have, could have, or would have.
But this blaming only makes it worse. My thoughts are so quickly sucked in to this way of thinking and before I know it my soul can’t breathe. It’s a dark path down this road of blaming. It gets darker and darker the longer I wander down it.
I’ve come to realize that darkness begins within myself. It’s the selfishness that longs for answers and someone to blame. This path is focused on nothing but me. My problem. My lack. My mess. When my eyes are fixed on myself and the seen reality, it’s dark and suffocating.
But I’ve been practicing keeping my eyes on Jesus.
He is the author and perfecter of my faith. I notice when I lift my eyes to him, this dark path begins to lighten up. This light leads me gently onward, wraps around me and brings a soothing hug to my soul.
Now when I want to blame myself — I find something to be thankful for instead.
And when I feel like I’m suffocating because there are not answers — I breathe in fresh words from the Bible.
Then when I can’t see anything but a dark path before me — I’ll fix my eyes on Jesus.
“Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” (Hebrews 12:2-3 MSG)
My human brain of knowledge wants to argue on my behalf that I need answers, but in this moment I’m practicing laying that aside. And yes, it’s a battle this laying down my strong need for answers. This laying down of myself on this path. This kind of dying is a hard fight.
It’s not so easy believing those words that so eloquently roll off our tongues, “Trust in Jesus. He’s the answer.”
And I want to beg forgiveness to all those I flippantly said those words to. I want to say, I’m sorry. I had no idea how your faith was being tested through your holy mess. I know trusting Jesus is hard when you’re hurting and you can’t see him.
And now in this battle of mine, I can see I’m going to have to fight to the end. So I’m going to strip off everything that holds me down, grab Jesus’s unseen hand, and walk into this day God has set before me along with this holy mess.
And what do we do while we are longing for answers.
We can fight through fear, tears, questions, and emotions to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. Isn’t that really the only way to muddle through the unknown?
This won’t be easy. Yes, it will certainly be hard. But I’m thankful we can hang on to the truth that Jesus has already won. He is the Victor. And maybe — just maybe — if you and I hang out with Jesus more and follow him down the path of light, we’ll be victors too — answers or no answers.
And when the long hard days come, let’s keep our eyes on Jesus while hanging on to the hope that His mercies are new every morning. Every morning, friend, every morning.