When You Don’t Know Why…

“Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10.

I don’t know.”

Those three words…I’ve said them more in my years of being a parent than in all the prior years combined. The longer I live, the longer I’m a mom, the more I realize how very much I don’t understand.

I don’t know what to do when my child’s heart is hard and no discipline or training tactic seems to be working. I don’t know what to say when they can’t overcome a sin struggle. And I just don’t always know the answers to the deep questions they ask.

It’s not just child-training that points out my inability to make sense of things. What about the life issues that just seem so unfair? Why do some people suffer so intensely? Why do children die of starvation and neglect? Why does human trafficking exist? Why do the righteous suffer and the wicked prosper?

On a more personal scale, why does God seem so distant at times? Why can’t I get past the depression that just weighs on my soul some mornings? Why does God allow “sorrows like sea billows (to) roll”? Why is He sometimes silent when I pray and pray for Him to act? Why do my loved ones have to endure such heartache? What about all the other unanswered questions – those nagging doubts that a Christian is afraid to vocalize? Those things we feel that seem to contradict the faith we claim? 

We’re quick to point our fingers at sin. And yes, sin is absolutely at the root of it all. Sin started all our suffering and misery (Rom 5:12). There would be no death, no murder, no abuse, no starvation without sin.

But why didn’t God stop Adam and Eve before they sinned? Or just leave the source of temptation out of the Garden? Why didn’t He prevent it? Why doesn’t He prevent suffering in my life, in my kids’ lives? If He’s really good, then why…?

Sometimes, I just don’t know.

I don’t always have the answers to my heart’s questions, my kids’ questions, my friends’ questions. But it’s okay, because my God does.

He knows. And He cares deeply. He offers wisdom to those who ask Him for it (Jas 1:5). Priceless, beautiful wisdom that is found in getting to know Jesus (Eph 1:17, Col 2:2-3). And as we know Him more, we learn to trust His heart. We experience that He loves His own extravagantly and works all things out for our good (Rom 8:28). He submitted Himself to suffering, too, out of love for us (John 15:13). He understands and is with us through it all (Heb 13:5). But there are some things we just may never understand. And that is when we must choose to just be still (Ps 46:10, above).

Be still. Cease striving. Let go. Relax.

If I know nothing else, I can know Jesus
(1 Cor 2:2). He is God. He will be exalted. His plan will come to pass. Evil will be avenged someday. Suffering will not last forever. One day He will wipe every tear from His beloved children’s faces (Isa 25:8).

When my heart rages, and accuses, and blames and is restless…I can, I must, choose to rest. “He is God and I am not,” as Steven Curtis Chapman so aptly put it in his song God is God. He welcomes me to ask Him for wisdom and to pour out my heart to Him (Ps 62:8).

But sometimes the only answer is that He is God. And that is when following Him means I must “bow the knee” and trust Him. Trust that He is who He says He is – just and yet merciful, good when life isn’t, loving when my heart hurts, holy and blameless when people aren’t, patient when I’m impatient, a Redeemer of what’s broken, the Friend who sticks closer than a brother…

So seek Jesus. Allow God to fill you with a spirit of wisdom and revelation, to “enlighten” your heart (Eph 1:17) as your intimacy with our beloved Savior grows. Because if you know Jesus, you can be still even when you don’t know why.

What question do you need to trust Him with today?