Have you ever asked God to explain himself? Have you ever moved through a period of life, pleading with him for answers, only to hear silence? I’ve been in this difficult season for several months now. Yes, we’ve been physically ill most of the past eight weeks. Yes, my husband has just finished an overseas trip for a job he’s had some difficulties with, and he travels to another country in just two weeks for another trip. Yeah, we’ve had financial stressors and upsetting physical diagnoses. Yeah, circumstances have been crappy. But that’s not been my biggest issue.
My biggest issue has been this heart inside of me that feels like a stone.
Because when God doesn’t change things that it seems he could change, my heart hurts, I feel betrayed. I don’t understand why he hasn’t moved the mountains, parted the seas, given the opportunities and the answers we’ve sought. He can do anything. But he hasn’t.
In my heart of hearts, I’ve continued to wait and to trust. Because I know that he’s good. I know that he’s faithful. But discouragement sneaks in as the tough stuff continues to roll in, month in and month out. Eventually, it’s become easier just not to feel rather than to feel hurt and discouraged. It’s become easier to go through the motions, pushing myself on physically to meet the demands of life, even though my heart feels hard. I reached this point a couple of weeks ago. It’s that point where your soul is completely desperate for something, anything, any small change, a whisper of a word from the Lord.
The whisper began in a conversation that I shared with my husband just before he left on his work trip.
“I hate how hard these trips are on you and the kids,” Andrew said.
“I know, but we will be alright,” I replied.
“How can a father do that to his kids? They don’t understand,” he countered.
“There are many fathers who do far worse things to their kids,” I offered.
“True, but that doesn’t make it right,” he persisted.
“No, but it doesn’t make it wrong either. You are doing what you have to do. Your job requires you to travel. You are not making a conscious choice to abandon your family for frivolous or selfish reasons. This is what you have to do and there’s no way around it,” I replied.
“I know, but they don’t understand that. They can’t understand why daddy is hurting them,” he said.
“It’s true, but that still doesn’t make it wrong for you to go. No amount of explaining would help their little minds to understand why Daddy is doing what he’s doing. They can’t see the big picture. It’s simply above their understanding.”
It’s simply above their understanding. (Did you see that light go on?)
How many things are simply above my understanding? The Bible teaches in many places that God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Is 55:8-9), and that no one can understand the mind of the Lord (Rom 11:34 ), nor fathom his understanding (Is 40:28).
My stoney heart has railed against the Lord, anger rising up that he’s not moving, that he’s not enlightening me, that he’s not explaining himself. But God has not answered with explanations, for he owes me NO explanations. Instead, my soul hears a gentle answer, perhaps the best and only answer that I can fully understand: Because I love you. What an unexpected answer to my angry tirade of WHY this, and WHY that… Because I love you.
After all, it is because he loves us that my husband is faithful to his job, including the travel it requires. He is about the business of providing for his family, even if this aspect of his provision is painful and strains us to the breaking point some days.
In the same way that my children must trust that their daddy still loves them and is only doing what he knows he must do, which is ultimately for our benefit (we like food and clothing!), I must trust that my Father loves me and is doing what he knows is best, that which is truly for my benefit, and more so, for his glory. There may be aspects of God’s plan that are painful and strain us to the breaking point. But he is the Father; he sees the big picture; it may simply be beyond our understanding. But trust is not above our understanding, nor is his love for us. Even in the midst of trials, my heart has softened to hear those words, Because I love you…