The Eternal Why

My niece recently tested my patience. I had to both hold my tongue and resist the temptation to hide in a closet because she kept asking one little question over and over and over again:


Y’all, I thought I was going to lose it.

Why is the sky blue?
Why won’t my baby doll blink her eyes?
Why are we having lasagna for dinner?
Why can’t I watch Sponge Bob?
Why do you live in Houston when we live here?
Why does my friend have a brother, but I don’t?
Why are you so tired?
Why is Mama looking at me light that?
Why are you laughing?

My sister Jamie just smiles at me, offering no aid in this never-ending barrage of questioning. Should I do what my mom used to do and make Addison look things up in the children’s encyclopedia? Lord know’s that ancient, colorful set of books is still on a shelf upstairs just in case we need it. It’s probably right beside my Sweet Valley High and Babysitter’s Club collections.

I somehow managed not to spurt out the perpetual, “BECAUSE I SAID SO” answer that used to annoy me to no end when I asked my mom similar versions of the same questions growing up.

Why can’t I find my name on any of the licenses plates in the Honey Comb cereal box?
Why can’t you drive me to the library?
Why are we having Hamburger Helper for dinner?
Why does Daddy have to work all the time?
Why do my friends have several Cabbage Patch dolls, but I only have one?
Why are you so tired?
Why is Jamie looking at me like that?
Why are you laughing?

As kids, we were all troubled by the eternal why. It seems so silly and frustrating if I look at it on a surface level, but truth be told, I still struggle with that exact same question today. Except now, instead of directing my irritation to Mama, I direct it to God.

Why do the wicked seem to prosper?
Why is there so much pain in the world?
Why am I praying for the same things over and over again?
Why does it seem that You don’t hear me?
Why do I have to keep asking?
Why aren’t You answering?
Why is this so confusing?

I’m reminded of the prophet Habakkuk who had a similar conversation with God. Habakkuk lived at a time when his community was overrun with corrupt leaders. The righteous were oppressed and crimes went unchecked. Habakkuk begged God to intervene.

God did intervene. By sending in a group of even more disturbing people to take over the land, Habakkuk’s house, his crops, and everything he held dear.

Well, that sort of backfired, didn’t it?

I probably wouldn’t have been as understanding as Habakkuk. My conversation with the Lord definitely would have escalated to a screaming match. I know the word “UNFAIR” would pepper my tantrum. That’s not the case with Habakkuk. He climbed on top of a wall so he could be alone in order to properly hear God.

The book of Habakkuk is all about living in faith. At first, the prophet wavers in his faith. He asks a lot of questions. Then he listens in faith as God reveals His plans to use an immoral nation to refine another one. Finally, Habakkuk responds in faith. No more whining. No more complaining. He understands the stakes, yet makes a decision to exalt the Lord regardless of his circumstances.

You don’t need me to tell you that this is easier said than done.

Hebrews 11:1 says “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

We all know the drill. In order to live a faithful life, we can pray, study, worship, and serve, which is great. That is an easy list to check off. I do love to check off a list.

But what about that “do not see” part of the equation. Why is that disclaimer there?

Because we can’t control what we do not see.

That stings a little bit, doesn’t it? Having faith means we have to give up control. Our job is not to understand the work of God. Our job is to TRUST the work of God.

We rarely know what’s coming next. Things may not turn out the way we anticipate. In fact, more times than not, things will not turn out the way we anticipate. We must remember God’s sovereignty. It’s completely natural for us to ask why. Expect that question to creep up in every single day. It’s life.

Bad things will happen. Questions will follow. Frustration will settle into our bones. This is the time when we have a choice to make. Do we focus on the WHY? Or do we focus on the WHO?

It’s definitely a way of thinking I’m not used to, but I’m willing to make it my mission to go there.

I will ask. I will listen. I will believe. I will obey. I will rejoice.

Yet I will exalt in the LORD
I will trust God regardless of my circumstances
The Lord will be my strength
He has made my feet like hinds feet, that of a deer
He makes me walk on high places
— Habakkuk 3:18-19

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June 5, 2017 3:55 pm

Wonderful reminder of Faith and Good Old’ Habakkuk, LR!

June 5, 2017 5:10 pm

Thank you for this!

June 5, 2017 8:17 pm

Such a beautiful post – Amen!!!

June 6, 2017 7:48 am

Good word Lincee, thank you!

Wendy Kay
Wendy Kay
June 6, 2017 9:44 am

Why can’t I ever pronounce the names in the Bible? Why have I never heard of this guy? Who is Jacob and why are we climbing his ladder? How did these Bible guys live to be 900 years old? Did they have Botox back then or did they just look hideous?

Why are you laughing at me?

June 6, 2017 12:43 pm
Reply to  Lincee

It seriously does! On our trip to Israel, our excursion to and afternoon swim in the Dead Sea cured me of a cold (caught on the plane probably) and a common female malady, while also giving me the softest feet I’d had in years. It felt like a miracle and I’m not kidding!

Kara K
Kara K
June 6, 2017 10:56 pm

My favorite lines…..
Why can’t you drive me to the library?
Why do my friends have several Cabbage Patch dolls, but I only have one?

I only had a premie cabbage patch doll from a garage sale and most of my friends had new ones. I also loved going to the library. I now have two little girls, four months and two. I’m sure they will ask me the same thing. Thanks for writing this. It touched my heart.

June 12, 2017 4:12 pm
Reply to  Kara K

You are too sweet, Kara. Thanks for commenting! And HOORAY FOR LIBRARIES!

June 7, 2017 9:44 am

My Cabbage Patch Doll!!!!!! I haven’t seen her in years!! i have that exact one. LOL.

June 12, 2017 4:12 pm
Reply to  Sara

YES!!! Ancita Zara was her name. My mom wouldn’t let me spend money to change it. I called her Annie.

Lindsay B
Lindsay B
June 7, 2017 10:51 am

I love this. There’s a translation of Habukkuk 2:3 that is one of my very favorite verses. “If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely come to pass. It will not be late by a single day!” Faith in God means faith in His timing. I find it so comforting that there is not a moment of this life that he doesn’t already know. And you’re right. Faith is not always understanding, Faith is believing and trusting the One in complete control!

June 12, 2017 4:13 pm
Reply to  Lindsay B

Absolutely. Preach it Lindsay B!

June 12, 2017 8:14 pm

I love this. Thank you.

June 14, 2017 1:46 pm

Love this post! You’re right easier said than done but what a great reminder to walk with blind faith! I needed this post! Thank you!

June 14, 2017 10:31 pm

I am always amazed when I find myself needing a little something that hits home and reminds me who I am, i find myself here. This was a great inspiration with a person touch for meaning for me.
19 years ago I had a very difficult pregnancy. I had hyperemesis and could not keep anything down. I ended up with a PICC line for hydrations and medications. We just prayed our little baby would be ok.
It was ok! She was a perfectly healthy term baby. We named her Faith. She was what I hoped for in the pregnancy but could not yet see. She is the most amazing gift in my life, and the name could not fit her better!

Thanks for writing and keeping me inspired, also thanks for just being you!

July 4, 2017 1:29 pm

Thank you for lifting the miserable agony of not being able to remember the books I read as a teen!!! SWEET VALLEY HIGH!!! I have tried several times to remember this. Why did I block it from my memory?! I have no idea. Thank you! Love you as always and loved this post!

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