If you would have asked me to write a list of what I thought my life would look like over these past 18 months, I can guarantee not one thing that my family and I have walked through would have been on it.
Just last winter I found myself stuck in a season of big whys. Why are my kids still not sleeping through the night? Why is parenting so hard? then to more intense questions this spring like, Why would you allow a pandemic to rage the planet? Why are you far from me? Why would you allow my many illnesses to take over my life? Why didn’t you heal my dad from cancer? Why don’t you care, God?.” Why…Why…Why…..?
To be honest, asking God my many why questions gave me a sense of control. The longer I focused on the why, I didn’t need to feel the deeper pain of the current outcome I was living in. After an intense time of prayer, the Holy Spirit impressed this upon my heart:
“Daughter, your feelings are valid. You are so very cared for. I hear you and you are asking the wrong questions. I am not hiding from you or withholding from you. Just the opposite. I love to share wisdom, fruit and blessing with you in my perfect timing. Trust me, I love you. Lean into the word. Surrender and fight in worship. Rest in my unconditional, timeless love. When your feelings begin to ask, “Why, God?,” instead hear and ask, “God, I trust you, what are you up to?”
That impression burned, yet also freed, my heart. I learned that asking God “what are you up to?” activates our trust in God’s loving character and helps us surrender control, rather than allowing our sometimes tumultuous emotions to cloud our picture of our timeless, trustworthy heavenly father; and in turn lose hope and question the only one who knows every detail of our very being.
The apostle Paul reminds us to hope in our seasons of the big whys, and that God is for us and hears us even when we don’t say anything.
“For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Our heavenly father may not have answered most of my why questions this past 18 months, but the difference from that time to now is that having the answers no longer matters to me. At my deepest soul groan God is for me, hears me and knows me. He fights for me. He is true to his word and I can trust him.
If you find yourself in a season of why, take heart, lean into the word, surrender and fight in worship and rest in his unconditional, timeless love. You too can ask “God, what are you up to?” even if you’re still longing for the why and that is what matters.
Esther “Annie” Rhoades is a mom to 3, wild and free, kids and has been happily married to her best friend, Jon, for over 10 years. Annie values experience over things and loves yoga with worship music, diving into the word, hosting, thrifting, making healthy goodies and traveling.