Is there a harder word in the English language than the word “why”?
I don’t mean hard in the sense of spelling or pronunciation, but in all of the emotion that can be wrapped up in a three letter word.
There was a time in my life when I never questioned anything. Life was just going along…I became a Christian at some point…things were never easy…but I never questioned whether I would make it to the next day.
And I rarely asked God “why?”. Because usually if I was going through a bad experience, it was because I had sinned and done something that I knew would bring a bad consequence. Even still I felt like I could have a say in the outcome, and things would eventually be okay.
Well We Know What Happened Next
Of course when you’re dealing with benzo withdrawal and recovery, you don’t get to choose the outcome (what you will experience and the day it will be over). So as I’ve walked this road before and am walking through it again (completely by no choice of my own), that three letter word keeps popping up.
“Why God would you allow me to go through this again? You got me through before and I gave you all of the glory (I think) and now again?”
This question is not unique to us. I know five children who lost their dad last week when he had a massive heart attack on vacation. I know people who have had recurrences of cancer. I know a young man who has had 11 brain surgeries because physicians didn’t catch an infection before it went to his brain. I know friends who have lost their home because of financial struggles year after year.
So we all ask why. We all want an answer. We think God doesn’t respond. Until we read His word.
Example After Example
As we know, God is sovereign and doesn’t need our permission to do or not do anything. While that sounds like He doesn’t care that we are in pain and just does what He pleases, we need to keep remembering the back story. Everything that God does and allows has an incredible, eternal purpose.
The way to believe and understand this is to read or listen to His word and see what He is really like. This morning, I was reading in the book of Acts, chapter 4, about the time when Peter and John prayed for a crippled man in Jesus’ name and he was healed.
If you’re anything like me, you think, “Okay God. If I’m just supposed to pray in Jesus’ name and be healed as this man was, why am I not healed?” Because, again, everything that God does and allows has an incredible, eternal purpose.
The Bible only introduces us to this crippled guy on this day in the book of Acts. That’s when we meet him. We didn’t meet him when he was born crippled and his parents asked “why?”. We didn’t meet him day after day after day that people carried him to the gate called “Beautiful” so he could beg for money. I’m sure every day he asked, “why?” We have no idea how old this man was, but if he was called a man, it had to have been over a decade that he spent every day like this. [CORRECTION–later in the chapter we find out he was over 40 years old!]
Then Peter and John encounter this man. And in the name of Jesus and because of his faith he was healed.
So why was he crippled for years? Because on a day that God had appointed before the foundation of the world, he would be healed in Jesus’ name. And we would be reading about it 2,000 years later to give us hope. Because on a day that God has appointed before the foundation of the world, you will be healed in Jesus’ name too.
How Do I Hold On Until That Day?
If you’re naturally a control freak like me, or if you are fearful that you can’t decide how your day will go, I suggest looking more at God than at yourself. Sounds impossible, but for years I thought, “How can I do this? How can I hold on?”. I’ve had more days than I can count that I never thought I’d survive and yet I did.
Did I do it? Of course not. God did. You think you’re the one holding on and you have to try harder to do it? Nope. God is doing all of the holding. He is above all of your struggle and isn’t it awesome that He is? We don’t have to figure it all out. We just have to keep our eyes fixed on Him. I know you’ll say “But I have to make a decision about my taper, or about taking a supplement or whether I should go to another doctor.”
Guess what, no matter what choice you make, God is still sovereign. You can’t screw up His overall plan. I remember a pastor telling me that years ago when I was questioning this drug that a doctor wanted me to take to fix withdrawal. I agonized over the choice. I made the wrong one, but God got me through it. It was all part of my story for one reason or another.
One of the reasons we suffer is so God can show us that He never leaves us. That He has a plan. That He is in control. Things feel totally out of control for us, just like for my friends who are suffering with their own problems. And yet we have to keep reading stories like the crippled man to see that there is always a “Then one day…” story for all of us.
You will make it. There is always hope because God is your hope. You are not your hope. Thank God!