A number of years ago (sometime in the 70s) I read a book that revolutionized my thinking. No, not the Bible, but that qualifies.
Like many others I had asked the “Why?” question. A lot. I was fairly young back then (in my 20s), and in my short life and ministry life I saw enough and heard enough to ask the question, “Why?” I can remember being in college and hearing about the tornado that ripped through an Ohio town called Xenia, laying a path of devastation in its wake. When I was a young Associate Pastor in Akron, OH, I met a family who had a severely deformed daughter from drugs the father took from injuries he suffered in ‘Nam- a child he wasn’t even supposed to father. I had no answer for the “Why?” when a young person died of cancer at a young age. I asked that question about events in my own life, not that any were that big.
Where was I? Oh yeah. The book. The book that literally revolutionized my thinking was “Where Is God When It Hurts?” by Philip Yancey. It featured his trademark “question” writing and was interspersed with real life stories, like Joni (paralyzed in a diving accident as a teenager). What struck me is the conclusion Yancey came to. In essence he said (and I am going at this from memory since I tragically no longer have the book), “The real issue is not why this is happening. That is not the question to ask. The question to ask is, ‘Now that this has happened, how should I react to it?’”
STOPPED ME DEAD IN MY TRACKS.
I was looking at it the wrong way. It was not about the “why?” but about the “what now?” Two different views. Life is not fair is what we say. True. Life sometimes throws us curves. Also true. What is also true, and I believe with all my heart, is that NOTHING happens without the Father knowing it, and yes, sometimes allowing it. I got to thinking about that book I read many moons ago and this whole “Why?’ thing again because of this quote I recently read:
Our lives are not determined by what happens to us, but by how we react to what happens…It is a catalyst…a spark that creates extraordinary results.
Speaking to the Corinthians about the Israelite wanderings/happenings under Moses’ leadership, Paul wrote, “Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let anyone who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” I Cor.10:11-12
We can use what happens to us as a cause for asking, “Why?” or we can begin to say, “How does God want me to act now?” Use it to our growth. Use what happens to grow closer to the Father. Have you any thoughts you care to share? Agree or disagree?