“The focus of this book is to explore the reasons why He sometimes delays His answers. Maybe you think it’s carnal to ask why. But many of the Psalms ask the why question with no apparent reproof from the Lord. When God begins to reveal His purposes to our searching hearts, and we begin to understand His ways, it helps to keep us from crawling off the altar. We find grace to persevere in tribulation because we understand that the present pain will produce a future harvest (see Hebrews 12:10).” ~Bob Sorge, The Fire of Delayed Answers [emphasis mine]
A question so many of us ask on a daily basis. It is a question I have asked many times in my own life. But I find that I don’t really ask the why question so much anymore.
It is not because I think it is carnal, as Mr. Sorge suggests some might believe. It is not that I think it is wrong to ask why. I don’t think I will be reproofed by God. I have just found it to be unproductive. Unproductive because, to me, the details of why something is happening, or not happening, don’t matter so much—what matters is the ultimate why.
What is the ultimate why?
As I read the quote I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I was reminded of a post I wrote over a year ago called Why do bad things happen?. In that post, I write about why I believe these things happen in our lives, especially as it relates to my son, who is on the autism spectrum. You can go read the whole thing, but I am including a portion of that post here.
In John 9: 1-7, Jesus heals a man who had been blind since birth. His disciples ask if the reason why the man was blind was due to his sin or his parents’ sin. Jesus answers them in verse 3 this way, “’Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ said Jesus, ‘but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.’” This struck a deep chord in me.
The “ultimate why” of why we experience the fire and trials of this life is this: God wants to display His works in you and give you a story.
He wants to display His works in you, in your children and loved ones, in your deepest, darkest, most hurt places, so that as you walk through those trials you can come out the other side with a testimony to God’s love, mercy and faithfulness.
This does not mean he will make the suffering go away, as he did for the blind man, but it does not mean He won’t. It means He will work in you so that you can walk through it, depend on Him, learn and grow. So that you can have a deeper relationship with Him than you’ve ever experienced before.
You may learn some other “whys” along the way, but ultimately, you will be able to share your story of how God brought you through the fire, the waiting and the pain. You will be able to minister to others so they might know that God wants to display His works in them too, and that they can trust Him to bring the answers they need right on time. Regardless of how things may appear.
10They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:10-11 NIV
And that is the future harvest. If we share our story, not only do we reap the harvest of holiness and righteousness and peace, but those who are touched by the story of our pain and trials will benefit as well.
I am excited to be joining in on a weekly book discussion led by Jason Stasyszen and Sarah Salter. Please visit them to see other posts in response to The Fire of Delayed Answers by Bob Sorge, at Jason’s blog—Connecting to Impact, and Sarah’s blog—Living Between the Lines. And even if you are not reading the book, please feel free to jump into the discussion!