It’s amazing how quickly a year can go by, isn’t it? Days tend to drag by at the speed of thick molasses pouring out on a cold day, yet somehow we turn around and twelve months have evaporated.
This month marks one year since we received Isaiah’s autism diagnosis.
An entire year since falling into an emotional black hole. An entire year since being handed a task I never desired and for which I feel inadequate.
An entire year since coming face-to-face with the God I’ve loved and served my whole life and whispering the dangerous but inevitable question, why?
It’s one of the most futile questions along our faith journey, for could we ever understand the mind of God? (see Romans 11:34)
Yet we simply cannot help ourselves.
Even if we mustered the ability to refrain from uttering the word, the raw emotion bubbling in the bones of those 3 letters would find a way to come screaming out of our pores. The guttural cry of why simply cannot be ignored.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve cried out to God over this past year, whether in words or in tears or both, grappling with why this path has been given to us.
But in my pain, I am encouraged that God understands this need to ask why. He made us, and He lovingly remembers that we are but dust (see Psalm 103:14).
And He is patient beyond understanding. From Job to Moses to David to Paul—all these spiritual giants of the faith—we see this crying out from the soul, this pouring out of the pain of why?
And as we approach Easter, may we not forget that even Jesus—our Savior, God’s own Son—cried out on the cross, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46 NIV).
Truthfully, I believe our Father welcomes this question, because it has the power to draw us close to His heart. Rather than stoically, silently trying to white-knuckle our way through pain and trials, asking why brings us face-to-face with the choice we must make:
When we don’t understand His plan, will we be willing to trust His heart? This heart that loves us so much, He wouldn’t even spare His own Son in order to save and redeem us (see Romans 8:32).
When faced with this choice a year ago, my answer wasn’t pretty and polished and blog-appropriate. I have battled, wrestled with my Heavenly Father through this simple, piercing choice.
Today, my heart is in a far better place than it was 365 days ago. There is still so much to be learned, so many battles to fight, and so much faith to develop and deepen.
But through the hills and valleys, God is sharpening my faith and teaching me an important lesson:
Ask why—but don’t wallow in it.
Ask why—and then take the next step.
That’s what this entire last year has been, a series of small, little steps taken as God opened the doors. Walking forward in His light, even when it shined just enough to see the next step. Putting faith into action by trusting Him to provide at the next point, and the next, and the next …
This is the way of the wilderness—trusting Him in each Red Sea obstacle, waterless desert, and soul-hunger pang. Being willing to pursue the Provider over the provision.
(and lest anyone make the mistake of thinking this is easy, may we never forget the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 long year!).
So ask why, dear reader—go ahead and ask, scream, cry, shout. Lay it out before Him. Ask why, then take the next step.
Don’t wallow in the why.
What about you? Perhaps you too find yourself facing something heavy, some large, looming hurdle. What’s the next step God is gently asking you to take?
Maybe it’s finally calling that counselor.
Maybe it’s scheduling that difficult meeting with your boss.
Maybe it’s finding a new school.
Maybe it’s letting go of that thing you’ve been desperately trying to control.
Whatever you’re facing, may I encourage you to go before Jesus and ask Him to make that next step clear?
And whatever the answer, dear one, I pray that you and I will have the courage to faithfully, humbly, take that step with confidence and joy, knowing He will make the way, step by step, desert sand and all shuffling beneath our weary feet.