Recently, I turned on the television, and within a few moments, I watched one of the most horrifying sights I have ever seen in my life. Hundreds of Walruses were falling off a cliff onto the rocks below. I was in shock for several minutes, too paralyzed to turn away. I could feel their pain as they landed on the rocks in a pile with their comrades. How could this be? This should not be happening! Why?
Many times throughout my life journey, I have asked the Lord,“Why?” Have you ever asked this same question on finding yourself having to respond to a specific circumstance or situation? Maybe it was an unexpected tragedy like an automobile accident, a seemingly senseless killing, or an incurable disease. It could have been the loss of your child, husband, wife, best friend, business partner or even someone you knew a short time; it seemed as if their lives were cut short for no apparent reason.
Or maybe there were multiple situations, circumstances or events that happened. Perhaps you were diagnosed with cancer, or you lost your home and all of your belongings in a fire. You might have lost a limb or eyesight, or job and have been unemployed for over a year. Possibly, you haven’t paid your rent or mortgage in a few months, and you are frantic about becoming homeless.
These represent a brief history covering several years and ask, the age-old question: “Why?”Difficult situations keep popping up like jabs from a porcupine. When they come, the wounds are so deep you want to scream in pain. You didn’t invite any of these into your life, yet they kicked in your door and came in to stay for a while. Painfully, like adding salt to an open wound, you look at others who seem to enjoy life with no troubles and never have to face a why.
Please allow me to take a little leeway and suggest an answer to the whys of our life. Let’s suppose for a moment there was a great prize attached to every why. If I had that guarantee, I certainly would be encouraged by each unexpected circumstance in my life, knowing I could expect a reward. Well, bring out your tambourines and dance, because... There is a bonus for every why that happens throughout life.
The apostle Paul hints at the secret to the answer for our whys. He says he has had his stomach full, but he knows how to be content when he’s hungry; he’s had plenty, but knows how to be content when he’s in need. “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13)
How many rewards can we count by using Paul’s way of handling the whys in his life? He expresses contentment and trust; because he knows he will be rewarded with the answer to all of them.
Next, we might be tempted to question the sanity of the conservative Jewish apostle (James) in his response to why. He tells us to delight and be joyful when we have different troubles and adversity. He follows up his logic by saying that patience and discipline are our rewards. Based on personal experience, the patience we receive won’t be ordinary. It’s the kind of patience that brings growth and builds moral character and maturity.
I have learned there is always an aha moment for the one asking the why. The brief story that follows shares how I got the answer to one of my whys. I have a friend who is completely paralyzed and is being cared for in a skilled nursing facility. She is a young mother with a precious spirit who loves the Lord. She has been paralyzed for over twelve years and cannot speak above a whisper. I made a mantra in my prayer time of asking, “Lord, why did this happen to her?” I always added, “She didn’t deserve this.”
But one day I stopped asking because I got it. I realized her situation held the blessing and the answer to my why. I began to see how she blessed both of us. I started to focus on genuinely loving her, without focusing on her paralysis. I regularly went to see her at the center, bringing her gifts, cards, her favorite snacks of junk food (she specifically asked for “junk food”) and having conversations with her about different things that would keep her in faith.
She responded by saying how much she loved me, and never stops claiming her miracle of healing. Many of the staff at the rehab center tell me they are inspired by my visits. To my surprise, the Lord is using my why to point others to His arms of love.
Your answer may not come like the answers to test questions. But if you listen to the Spirit of the Lord, you will be amazed that the answer you seek lives within you, and your response to the circumstance or situation will bless you with rewards and power you never expected.
Not forgetting the walrus population, there are several theories as to why the mass cliff fall-offs are occurring. Some experts in the study of animal behavior theorize that the lack of sea ice they so desperately need to survive, is gone. This contributes to walrus overcrowding on beaches, leading to mass stampedes off cliffs.
Unlike the walrus, we have the Spirit of the Lord to guide us in our responses to challenging events, irritating circumstances, and confusing situations. Your answer to your why may not come as a specific thing said by the Lord. But if you listen to His Spirit, you will always get the answer and claim your reward.