“Why?” we ask almost as soon as we’re able to speak a word. “Why are flowers different colors? Why does daddy go on the train to work? Why does my friend have a TV in her room and I don’t? Why?” We’re CindyLou Who asking the Grinch why he took the Christmas tree. We just want someone to have the answers to everything that seems like a riddle.
Eventually, we begin to understand our parents and caregivers can’t satisfy our curiosity. As grown-up kids, we still want to know “why” though and so we set out to research the questions or we go to our Heavenly Parent to get the answers. “Why me, God,” we’re tempted to say.
Like Sherlock Holmes, searching for clues, we hope to deduce the answers . We don our thinking caps, get our best friends to help us catch the elusive thief of why and turn over every rock of slippery reason. Sometimes our cleverness pays off and we see the light and the world makes sense and we get the answer. Other times, not so much. What happens when “why” doesn’t have a sensible answer, when it can’t be tracked back to a specific event, when there’s no one to blame?
One possible thought is that perhaps “why” is the wrong question. Maybe the opportunity in the experience is to simply acknowledge that life changes on a moment’s notice and is difficult to pin down. When I look at those moments when the temptation of “why me” loomed heavily, I can look back and see a seed that was planted. That seed caused me to grow, to search again for what God would want for me, to remind myself that I am not in control and that I’m living in grace and mercy and that all things work together for good even when I can’t always see that good. Even more than that, the seed worked within my spirit to change me, to bring new understanding that made steps that would come later easier to bear, or those seeds gave me tools to help someone else.
So “why” comes into play when my trust in God is weak, or when I think I understand the direction of things and get comfortable and simply don’t anticipate the change. What I’ve learned though is “Why” is often a friend that leads me to “How” and “When” and “Where” in ways that I wasn’t imagining, but ways that have strengthened my life beyond measure.
“Why” is a good question when it leads to discovery, motivates the search that gets you on your feet, or maybe on your knees and keeps you moving forward. It just can’t be the only question. If you’re stuck in the “why” spiral, you can also ask “Why do good things happen to me?” Why does my partner love me so much? Why are my children thriving in the world? Why does God accept me and love me just as I am?
One answer is that you have a purpose in this world. You have a job to do that belongs to no one else and the One who created you knows every detail of what will get you safely to the place you need to go. For even though you don’t know every “why”, He does, and He’s planting seeds everywhere to help you grow and discover all you are meant to be.
That information helps me when my inherent need to know gets the best of me…when my CindyLou Who side comes asking questions. So when that happens to me now, I just get my own glass of water and go off to bed…trusting I can leave the situation in God’s hand…after all, He’s up all night anyhow.