I remember growing up asking my parents “Why?” Of course it was usually because it was something that they wanted me to do that I really didn’t want to do. “Rob, clean your room.” “Why? It’s just going to get dirty again.” “Rob, take a shower.” “Why? I’m just going to go outside and get sweaty, dirty, and grimy again and then you’ll want me to take another shower.” I learned after getting into trouble a few times of asking “Why?” that you didn’t ask “Why?” you just went and did what they asked. Besides that the answer wasn’t what you wanted to hear anyway, most of the time. “Because I said so, that’s why. If you have a problem with that then we’ll have a problem.” So, off I went to do whatever they asked me to do, most of the time with a good attitude, but there were times that the attitude wasn’t so good. There were times when I walked away mumbling to myself, “I still don’t understand Why, this is the most stupidest thing I have to do. But I don’t want the trouble, so, I’ll do it just to get it over with. I’m not happy about it, but let’s get it done.” Wrong attitude, wrong spirit, and then the job usually wasn’t done very well and I would have to go back and do it again.
What do you do though when life throws you something tough and you don’t want to do it, you look at God and go “Why?” “Why do I have to have kids who are on drugs? Why do I have to have a husband who left me? Why do I have to deal with parents who have Alzheimers? Why do I have cancer? Why, God, this isn’t fair? Other people are being so blessed and have life so easy. They’re kids are well-behaved. They’re healthy. They have such a good family. Why me Lord?” Just as you get a hold of one situation, another rises up and piles on top. “Why, God? Will this ever end?”
Seven years ago I went through that. I went through a stage of asking God “Why?” Pastoring CW Church is a great thing. Life was good. Dawn and I had moved into the parsonage, we were seeing new people come into the church from the community. We were seeing lives changed in the services. There were things happening in the church. God was moving and it was just awesome. One day, I was working at the church on Sundays worship service. I had gone home for lunch and came back to the church for the afternoon. As I was walking across the main room, I had this chest pain, broke out in a sweat, and got very weak. I also got a severe headache right behind my right eye. I thought I was dying right there on the spot. Thank the Lord for cell phones. I called Dawn and told her that she needed to come home right then and we needed to go to the hospital. Off we went. They ran all kinds of test over the next 24 hours and found nothing. Everything came back normal. I still had the headache, but the chest pain was gone. My family doctor sent me to an optometrist to have my eyes checked who then sent me to OSU to a optic neurologist. After a lot of testing, MRI’s, and scans, we found that there were two viruses that were attacking my central nervous system that caused optic neuritis and that I would go blind in the one eye that would eventually come back, but not back to full strength. It did just that. I have a blind spot in my right eye. He then sent me to a neurologist who started treating me for Clinically Isolated Syndrome with the high risk of Multiple Sclerosis. I was showing all kinds of symptoms, but didn’t fit the category for MS yet, praise the Lord.
During all of this, I would go to my office, get on my knees and cry out to the Lord and say, “Why? Why this? Why now? Why me?” You know the answer I got, silence. He didn’t answer the question. It was much like my parents at times when I asked them “Why?” A lot of the time when they were asked, they just were quiet and that was the cue that I needed to get moving because the next words or actions were not going to be pleasant. Now, I don’t think that God was going to pour out judgment on me for asking Why, but there was silence. So, I started digging into the Psalms and found there was another man who struggled with life. His name was David. Do you realize that he spent most of his life running for his life? Even when he was king he had to run for his life, and from his own son. He would cry out to God about his enemies, he would cry out to God about his feelings, he would cry out to God about his situation. Most of the Psalms that he wrote started out with him whining and crying out to God. As I started reading those, I realized that, that’s what I was doing. I was whinging and crying out to God. I also realized that God, being my Heavenly Father, wants to hear my cries. He wants to hear my heart. He wants to hear from me. So, I started not only to cry out in prayer, but I started writing these things down. I started crying out to God in a journal, letting Him know how I felt about what I was going through. It wasn’t easy to deal with. It wasn’t easy to go through. I didn’t like the lumbar punctures that I had to have, I didn’t like the MRI’s, I didn’t like the hospital stays, I didn’t like the blood draws, I didn’t like all the doctor visits, and I still don’t. However, God knows that and we’ve settled that between us.
If you continue to read the Psalms that David wrote, you’ll find out that even though he cried out, even though he whined and even asked why, he still submitted. He still followed the Lord. He praised and worshipped God for Who He was and how faithful He was. He still lifted Him up in all of HIs glory. In the midst of running for his life, in the midst of fighting for his life, in the midst of hiding in the caves, in the midst of his enemies, David sought after the Lord, whined a little and then worshiped. He knew where his strength came from. He knew where his hope was found. He knew who held his life in the palm of His hand. That’s why he was a man after God’s own heart. In asking “Why?” the Lord has shown me at least part of the picture of “Why?” Since getting sick I’ve been able to minister to several people across the country who have MS as well as to their families. I’ve been able to listen, try and help them, but most importantly lead them to the Lord who will give them the strength they need to fight this disease. Is there a cure? No. Is there hope? Absolutely. That hope is found in Jesus Christ and in Him alone. Next time you want to ask “Why?” Go ahead, but be ready for the answer, even if it’s silence.