Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Questioning God

I grew up in a loving, Christian home. It sounds so cliche but it is true. We lived on a cul-de-sac where there were a bunch of kids and young families. We all played outside until the street light came on, we took our baths, ate dinner, went to bed and started the next day just as the previous day had started. My parents are strong Christians who took us to church every Sunday and did family devotions with us. Overall I had a really easy childhood. 

One thing I did learn in childhood was to never question my parents. I don't ever remember my parents saying, "Because I said so" but they implied it. This is not a bash on them, most parents do it and it's not necessarily a bad thing. I do have a point of why I'm sharing this. I have realized that because I grew up where I, for the most part, didn't question my parents, I have never questioned God...until this summer. 

I have never questioned God's sovereignty, His authority, His power, my salvation, etc. I haven't questioned theology. I believe firmly in God and I do believe that He has a plan and purpose for each persons life. My questions really aren't multiple it is just one: "Why God?" 

The very first time I thought this I pushed it out of mind thinking that it was blasphemous and wrong. Slowly I began to just let it happen and I have realized that questioning God has brought me so much closer to Him. Now, I know that not all questioning of God is healthy, your motives need to be right, you need to be asking Him in hope of drawing closer to Him, but if you question the Lord with the right motives, you will find that you will be drawn so much closer to Him. 

It all started for me about a month ago. For those of you who don't know me well, I have a sister named Veronica. She is not my "real" sister, my parents fostered her from the time she was 3 days old until she turned 13 months old. After this time her mom got out of jail and my parents were forced to give her back to her mother even though they were desiring to adopt her. I'm not going to go in to all of the details but about a month ago Veronica got into some really bad trouble with the law. I was devastated with nowhere to run. I felt like a bomb had been dropped on me and I was utterly confused. My sister and I are really close, although due to her lifestyle in recent years we had drifted apart, her and I at one point were almost inseparable. 

It always seems to happen that when serious problems arise Dirk has a lot of side jobs or is out of town. It has nothing to do with him, even through his busy times he is my support and does everything he can for me. I have realized though that God wants me to rely on Him and not on Dirk. During these circumstances I began to question the Lord. I kept asking Him, "Why?" Why wasn't she allowed to be adopted by my family where she would have been well taken care of and treated as a child should be treated? What is the purpose in this? How is this better than being raised how I was raised? Why did God allow this? Through this time God really spoke to me and basically just said, "Because I am God." This may seem like a simple response but it was profound to me and it satiated my hunger for an answer. I realized that I had to surrender and continually say, "Because You are God."

In Judges 6 we read about Israel being given to the hand of the Midianites for 7 years. Then there's Gideon.  An angel of the Lord appears to Gideon and says, "The Lord is with you, mighty warrior." Gideon replies to the angel of the Lord, "But sir...if the Lord is with us why has all this happened to us?"  Then the Lord tells Gideon to save Israel out of the Midianites' hand and Gideon says, "But Lord...how can I save Israel?" This was just the beginning of Gideon's questioning. God was so gracious to Gideon. He answered Him and even went further than that if you continue to read chapters 6 & 7. 

Now comes the tragedy that Thursday brought. The loss of an awesome guy, Chris Laurie. Again I was devastated and again I began to question the Lord. "Why God?" I struggled much more with the questioning this time. My heart was heavier than it had ever been before. I have had my share of really tough times where I was even more desperate, that's a whole different blog, but even through that time I never questioned God because I knew that God was creating me to be a better person. Through the death of Chris I was in deeper questioning of the Lord than I had ever been. I kept asking the Lord, "Why?" There were so many, "whys." 

By Sunday morning, on the way to church, my heart was heavy and my stomach ached. As we were almost to church I just began to weep. I wasn't sure that I was going to be able to handle walking into church. I wasn't cursing God or even questioning Him, I was just so overwhelmed by questions and even frustration, again not with God but with the circumstance. I wanted to understand the circumstance. I wanted to know why my husband's mentor was taken from him, I wanted to know why sweet Brittany & Stella have to live without their hubby and daddy, I wanted to know "Why Greg?" after all he's already gone through in life. I had so many questions. I'm not going to lie and say that going to church made the questions go away. It didn't, if anything it made them grow more and more. 

After church was over my dear hubby and I went for a drive. I finally just gushed to him about how I can't understand this and how I can't comprehend WHY! Here is my husband who is grieving much deeper than I am and he looks at me and says, "That's why we need to ask God to give us a peace that surpasses all understanding. You're not going to understand it. God has a plan and we have to trust that and get on with HIS work." I was just quiet. Although it seems like a simple concept it holds so much meaning.

I'm not at all saying that Dirk's precious words took away all of my questioning but I realize now that every time I begin to wonder, "Why?" I can pray for the Lauries whose hearts are so much heavier than mine. I can use my pain and questioning, which is so miniscule,  to pray for those that are grieving deeper than I can ever imagine. I can pray for the design department who lost their beloved creative director. I can pray for the pastors who are grieving for Greg and for their loss of Chris. I can pray for Chris' close friends and I can pray that this devastation can be used for God's glory.

Throughout this summer God has really chiseled at my being with these two verses:

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,  present your requests to God. And the peace that transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:4-7

"'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9

In questioning the Lord I have found that I have drawn even closer to Him and have realized His true being even deeper. 

2 comments:

  1. hey, my mom called to tell me about chris' death.

    we weren't sure if/how well you knew them, but from what i gather, it was very well.

    how's everyone holding up? you and dirk feeling better?

    ReplyDelete
  2. i was really encouraged by your post... it really hits home to some of the things i feel. so many times it seems like because we are christians it is wrong if we have questions or doubts. the only way we can progress is if we face them head on and trust that God will lead us in truth. thanks for sharing :)

    -alex creswell

    ReplyDelete