Sister to Sister: Not a Bad Thing

soccer-mom-1So many of the things that turn our lives upside down in a very damaging way are not really “wrong” things. The thing that turned Martha’s day in Luke 10 into a nightmare that’s still being rehearsed was not a “wrong” thing. Fixing dinner was a good thing to do… important, even. Just not as important as listening to the Lord. The object of attachment that made the rich young ruler (who, by the way, was a knowledgable, law-keeping Jew) in Mark 10 walk away with sorrow was not an “evil” object. It was simply that what he loved most was not what he should have loved most. There was nothing inherently bad about the bowl of porridge that Esau obtained in exchange for his birthright in Genesis 25. It was, once again, simply a case of misplaced priorities.

And so it is with me and so many of my friends today. When I love sewing for the sweet baby in my life more than I love sewing for a needy family, I have misplaced priorities. If I love stashing casseroles in my freezer so I will have easier days for self while never thinking of sharing with other moms who have sick children or with families who are grieving, then my “good” thing becomes evil. If I am being a “good influence” on my fellow civic club members or bowling league while meeting with them on Wednesday nights during the regular Bible study hour of my congregation, I have let a good thing take the place of the best thing.

One important application of the obvious relevant passage—“Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added to you ” (Matthew 6:33)— is this: Mark it down….If I love my child more than I love my spouse, I am putting a good thing—even a great thing, one notch too high on my list of priorities. Sometimes I see this happening around me. A mother chooses to distance herself from her husband because she is simply absorbed in the activities of the children. A daddy spends all of his time playing ball with his sons  to the neglect of the emotional needs of his wife. A mother chooses to sleep with her children rather than with their dad. A daddy of teens chooses to absorb himself in his work (camping, fishing and hiking) with the teenage boys of the church, leaving his wife alone on many or most weekends. A young mother defies the rigid but reasonable discipline regime that her husband has set in place in their home because she “feels it is a bit too regimented.” A mom spends hours and hours in Facebook groups about motherhood or in hobbies that revolve around the kids while Dad is left to pretty much fend for himself. A dad puts an exorbitant amount of money into sports gear for his children while his wife has trouble having enough grocery money each month. The list is inexhaustible.

But you get the point. We can be “good” and still reserve a place in our lives for selfish defiance. This is true even when our defiance is borne of what we may believe is love for our kids. But the important truth to remember is this. If I love my child more than I love my husband, I will ultimately hurt my child. Every. Single. Time. Ask Rebekah how that worked out when she sought the “best interests” of Jacob at the expense of Isaac in Genesis 27. When your children are grown, you can’t go back and have a re-do. So, if you can find it in your heart to believe this old grandmother now, you can save your children a lot of heartache. Just love their father to the max. Put him right there between God and your children in the pecking order. When you love him, you love those beautiful children he gave you. And all will be better in your world!

I Have a Prior Commitment (Conclusion)

Rewards

images-1Of course, the big reward is heaven. If we can just make it to the throne…if we can sit around the throne of God with our spouses and our children in the New Jerusalem, singing praises to the Lamb…our marriages will have rendered the ultimate reward. But there are more immediate rewards of honoring the Christian commitment in our marriages.

Our prayers are not hindered when we do marriage God’s way (I Pet. 3:7). Have you ever tried to talk to God when you have argued in anger with your husband or failed to abide by His decision? You will find that you cannot approach the Highest Authority until you have submitted to His delegated authority. If you find yourself in that awkward place, go apologize to your husband and then come back and talk to your Father.

Our daughters receive invaluable training for submission in their own future marriages. This is training that they will rarely receive in other venues in our world of feminism. In fact, their guidance counselors at school will, almost always, scoff at girls who would like to marry and bear children in lieu of having a career. Their role models in secular society mock at the rare woman of God who openly speaks of submitting in marriage. So this gift of a godly mother’s example is crucial. We must be constantly aware that we are countering a very convincing culture when our children watch us interact with our husbands. Our window of opportunity to indelibly etch this vision of what God wants and rewards in the hearts of our sons and daughters is extremely limited.

Our husbands will be better able to slay the dragons in their hectic and often godless worlds as they go about leading and providing for our families. A warm and loving haven where there is respect and admiration for a man enables him to do the tough stuff for his family in a culture of disrespect. He can take almost any courageous action for his wife and children if there is peace, harmony and respect around the dinner table.

But the biggest reason is the one listed beneath the admonition to be obedient to husbands in Titus 2:5. It is this: “…that the word of God be not blasphemed.” If we knew nothing else about the rewards of doing marriage God’s way, this would be enough. I have seen this blasphemy in the words and demeanor of teen girls and young wives who wear the name of Christ, but whose moms failed to teach them the principles of respect in marriage. One teenage girl in class responded to a lesson on submission in marriage by asking “Are you telling me, Mrs. Cindy, that I will one day have to obey the man I marry?”

I responded “No, Heather. I am not saying that. God said that.”

…To which Heather responded with folded arms and a steely resolve in her voice…“Well, I’m not doing that!”

This was a harbinger of disaster in Heather’s future marriage. It was blasphemy. It most certainly would, one day, represent a breach in some promises she had made when she had taken His name. Heather had decided not to be a daughter of Sarah. She had decided not to do well.  May you and I do well and may God help us to teach our daughters to do well.

 

I Have a Prior Commitment (Part 2)

280107_10150245550298692_363378268691_7579920_3733981_o-1The Prior Commitment and My Attitude

It is interesting that Peter commands actions (subjection and obedience, chaste manner of life) and attitudes (meek and quiet spirit) in the details of how  we attain to be daughters of Sarah In I Peter 3: 1-6).

Christianity obviously rules not only our outward actions, but it requires our hearts. The greatest command is still, today, loving the Lord with my all…all my heart, soul, strength and mind (Luke 10:27). Thus, core principles of Christianity, the “ethics,” if you will, of Christ, determine my daily decisions and regulate my relationships…all of my relationships. I am often amazed as I see women who are kind and gentle people, mannerly and decorous, unselfish and soft-spoken until they get behind the closed doors of their own homes.

May I suggest to you that home should be the place where you exhibit the best that Christianity has to offer? After all, your relationship with your husband is the most permanent of all earthly relationships. If you have children growing up in that home, you are daily and indelibly etching on their souls. You are putting attitudes in them that will prove very difficult to remove…ever. And your own happiness in your marriage is largely dependent on your attitude at home. Are you getting in your own way of happiness?

Remember the premise. Your prior commitment–the one you made to Jesus in the waters of baptism–rules your marriage. Perhaps the most succinct passage that you apply daily in your relationships is known as “The Golden Rule”:

“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so to them, (Mat. 7:12).

It’s a great challenge to apply this passage at home. It means we refrain from nagging. We are nurturers as women. We want to fix our husbands, even the insignificant shortcomings of good husbands. But nagging is ineffective (It is like flipping a light switch over and over when the lights are still not coming on) and is not consistent with our prior commitment.

Applying the golden rule means we’re not pouters. As pouting wives we give our  husbands the silent treatment. If we don’t get our way, we withhold conversation, smiles and warmth from the men we love. We treat them in ways in which we would not like to be treated. We should never let the sun go down on marital wrath (Eph.4:26). Further, we should not end phone conversations in words of malice or let cars back out of our garages when relationships have rifts. Life is too fragile and regret is too bitter.

The golden rule also prohibits manipulation. Women have the power to get much of what we want. It takes strong women to keep this power under control. Whining, crying, lying, withholding sex or using sex to achieve selfish purposes is inconsistent with the prior commitment. Weak women, like Delilah (Judges 16) and Jezebel (I Kings 21) use the power of manipulation. Strong women for God use the power of self-control. We do not submit to our husbands because we have to. We submit because we choose to honor the prior commitment.

The golden rule makes us polite, genteel people. Are we polite to our husbands? Do we speak respectfully to and about them? Do we especially work to do this in front of our children, our most crucial audiences?  Do we refrain from interrupting and correcting them? Do we use the words like “please” and “thank-you” and “you’re so welcome” and “excuse me”  to the people we love most? We are most certainly reaching into the future  marriages of our children as they watch the marital interactions of their parents. Surely it makes sense that our homes will be warmer and happier if we are polite within their walls. But, regardless of whether we see the positive outcomes, we must honor our prior commitment. We must honor the original vows we made to the Lord. Remember, Sarah called him “Lord”.

Financial matters are tempered by my relationship with Jesus, as well. My husband’s masculinity–his wholeness as a man–is incomplete if he knows he fails as a family provider. Do you want to give your husband the gift of emotional wholeness? Stay in the budget! Work hard to be frugal and help him in every way possible to make ends meet. Be sure you contact him about all large decisions prior to making them. “What is a large decision?” you may ask. If you’re wondering about this with regard to some pending choice, you should go ahead and ask before purchasing. It’s much more pleasant to hear, “Oh, sure…go ahead,” than “I cannot believe you did that without consulting me.”  Never compare your husband’s money-making ability in an unfavorable light with that of another man. That comparison is a great way to strip away your husband’s confidence and masculinity.

The golden rule simply has endless and positive ramifications in our marriages. Think about how many problems with in-laws would automatically find solutions if both spouses applied the Golden Rule toward their partners in dealing with parents. In fact, if you combine Jesus’ Golden Rule with his eternal rule about leaving and cleaving (Gen. 2:24), your marriage would be insulated from interferences that cause pain in marriage.

Sister to Sister: The Prayers of the Patriarchs

modern-ten-commandments-prayer-quotesJust Noticing: Glenn and I are in Oxford, Mississippi this week and it’s quite the thing around town, of course, to hear ‘smack talk’ about Bama. Just not a great week for Bama fans to be hanging around Oxford. The shirt in the window of the sports store says “Hotty Toddy-Gosh A’ Mighty-We Beat Bama!” There aren’t too many phrases that are more insulting to me than “We Beat Bama!” But the one just preceding it on that shirt definitely is. Just saying…no matter how commonplace the euphemisms for the Lord’s name become, their use should still hurt us, as Christians (Ex. 20:7). Sadder still, it seems the rest of the Rebel chant is even harder on the ears of a Christian.

Also Just Noticing this: Some have mentioned that you are studying premillennialism with friends or family, particularly relating to the new movie, “Left Behind”. I am very happy to announce that last Sunday’s lesson at West Huntsville was a very clear overview of the doctrine upon which that movie is based, Biblically answering many questions that you may be encountering. It can be accessed here: http://new.livestream.com/whcoc/worship….Just click on the am service for October 5th. It will do your soul and your studies good! Audio should be up shortly, as well.

I hope you are well into the Digging Deep study for October. Personally, I have got to get busy on it. I want to leave you with some final thoughts today from the Genesis study. I promise I’ll move on after this post, but a few things are worth a final mention just to put a bow on the September study and then, it’s yours.

  1. 1. I love the way that God answered the servant’s prayer even as he was speaking it in Genesis 24. Sometimes I can very much relate to that. I am sure God knows our legitimate needs before we ask (Matthew 6:8), so, if we are asking appropriately, I believe he can know the answer before we ask. Sometimes, when I am asking for certain blessings, His Word on the particular problem or challenge I’m praying about comes to mind and gives me the very answer for which I seek. I believe when we remember, because of our knowledge of the Word, relevant answers or ideas regarding problems about which we pray, this is one sense in which our prayers are answered even as we pray. This is not miraculous revelation, but it’s just that as I am praying, my heart is naturally open to His will, my spirit is calm and thoughtful and it is a prime time for His Word that I have studied to emerge in my thoughts with answers from the wisdom of God, Himself.
  2. Everything about positive answers to prayer is not always positive. Isaac prayed for Rebecca to conceive (Genesis 25), but, in the end, the grief quota from the birth of his twins was huge. When you pray for that job, that house, that relocation, that marriage, or those children—remember that much of the blessing or curse that comes with the answer lies in your stewardship of the blessings given. The prodigal son in Luke 15 is demonstrative of this: He asked the father for the blessing and it was given, but his poor use of the blessing took him to the pig pen.
  3. In Genesis 28, Jacob made some big promises as he prayed. I have promised things to God in prayer. I have vowed to serve Him all of my days. I have prayed for a loved one to be safe when I feared the worst and promised God that, should that loved one safely return to me, I would do all that I could to make my relationship with that person what God wanted it to be. I was recently speaking with a faithful preacher’s wife about our vows to God and she related to me that her husband never vows to God because he is afraid he will not keep the vow. As I thought about this, it occurred to me that there is a real sense in which we all vow to God as we enter the waters of baptism. It is a serious thing to vow to God (Deut. 23:21-23).
  4. One lady asked, “When Jacob vowed to give a tenth of all he had to God in Genesis 32, where, exactly, did the stuff he gave go?…I mean there was no treasury during the patriarchal age, so where did offerings end up?” Well, I had never thought about that question and I do not definitively know the answer, but I believe Jacob was promising prophetically; that is, I believe he was promising/prophesying  that the nation of Israel would be a tithing nation. Notice this commentary on the passage by Adam Clarke:

“Jacob seems to make this vow

rather for his posterity than for himself, as we may learn from

Gen. 28:13-15; for he particularly refers to the promises which

God had made to him, which concerned the multiplication of his

offspring, and their establishment in that land. If, then, God

shall fulfil these promises, he binds his posterity to build God a

house, and to devote for the maintenance of his worship the tenth

of all their earthly goods. This mode of interpretation removes

that appearance of self-interest which almost any other view of

the subject presents. Jacob had certainly, long ere this, taken

Jehovah for his God; and so thoroughly had he been instructed in

the knowledge of Jehovah, that we may rest satisfied no reverses

of fortune could have induced him to apostatize: but as his taking

refuge with Laban was probably typical of the sojourning of his

descendants in Egypt, his persecution, so as to be obliged to

depart from Laban, the bad treatment of his posterity by the

Egyptians, his rescue from death, preservation on his journey,

re-establishment in his own country, 

exodus of his descendants, their travels in the desert, and

establishment in the promised land, where they built a house to

God, and where, for the support and maintenance of the pure

worship of God, they gave to the priests and Levites the tenth of

all their worldly produce. If all this be understood as referring

to Jacob only, the Scripture gives us no information how he

performed his vow.”

5. Finally, a comment about how prayer helps us when our families are experiencing strife or division: It is often the case that our family members are those with whom we share our heart’s most intimate concerns. What happens when we have lost the close communion of our former family confidants? In times like these, I believe we can grow to appreciate the blessing of always having the confidence of our God even more than ever. I can always tell God anything and know that He is hearing and that He cares (I Peter 5:7). Secondly, as stated in #1 above, I can get the best ideas for solving family problems when my heart is open and my mind is eased in the hour of prayer. Thirdly, I can count on the gift of wisdom in dealing with difficult family situations as I ask for it (James 1:5). Finally, when I cannot, by my actions, bring peace to my family, I can, by praying and by giving the problem to God, bring peace to my own soul. I can go to sleep knowing I have truly done all that I can do. Prayer sometimes changes things. Prayer always changes me.

Sister to Sister: Surprise in Atlanta!

unnamedSo I’m in the Atlanta airport, as it seems I often am on Saturday nights. I’m at gate B6 waiting for the late  flight I’m taking back to Huntsville after speaking this weekend in Farmersville Texas (audio here: www.farmersvilletxchurchofchrist.org/). So I got off the earlier flight, glanced at the overhead monitor, and took the nearest escalator to the train, heading to terminal B. Since they had tagged and taken my carry-on, I was texting Glenn, on this very crowded escalator, with someone very close to my back on the very next step, to tell him I would be a bit late getting out at Huntsville, He texted back: “Turn around.” So I did. And there he was!

“What on earth are you doing here?!”

“Just came to Atlanta to see you.”

What fun to find that he’d taken a voucher in Charleston that coincidentally put him on MY flight back home from Atlanta.  I’m good with this!

So that’s a couple of the things I’ve been thinking about lately that I love about my husband. He loves to be with me and he’s good at surprises. For today’s post here are twenty more of my top favorite things about Glenn Colley:

  1. My husband is able to tune out stress better than any man I know. He deals with a lot of it. But when he’s purposefully relaxing,he is very good at putting the lock on the stress box. I need to find the key to that lock myself.
  2. My husband is very good at showing interest in my “projects”, for lack of a better word. He encourages me to invest in and work on the things that bring me pleasure…and then he brags on the finished projects, even if the smocking is a little crooked or the paint is a little smeared or the wall hanging is not quite level. I can’t tell you how much I love this about him. Something about, “I really want you to go to that class,’ or “Go to Hobby Lobby and get the supplies to make that if you want.” is extremely therapeutic for me.
  3. My husband tells me that I am the best women’s speaker he knows. Now, why would he say that, when, of course, he has never attended the first lecture I have ever made? Still, I like it.
  4. My husband never, ever lets me carry heavy things if he’s around. He never sits on the couch and watches me bring in the groceries. Never. He fills up my car with gas, mows, takes out the trash and packages and mails all our books from The Colley House. He is our lifter and mover. He takes care of all the “man jobs”. I am not a feminist. I like that about him.
  5. My husband asks me “How was your day?”…every single day. And then he follows up with questions about the details that I share. He is believable. He makes me think he really cares about those details. If miles are separating us, he still does this by phone. Every single day.
  6. My husband plays “dumb” about cooking and laundry. Now, I know most of you would not like that, but I do. He acts as if culinary knowledge and the work of a laundress are highly technical fields and then he brags when he opens his t-shirt drawer. He says “I love my magic drawer that just refills over and over all by itself.”
  7. My husband is good with children. He always changed lots of diapers, never minded the spit-up, drank after them, bathed them, and disciplined them. Best of all, he listened—really listened— to them, even if their questions and conversation came while he was writing sermons or doing house repairs.
  8. My husband refrains from using electronics—you know, web surfing, face booking, and texting—when we are able to spend time together. He tries to be absorbed in our conversation and I like that—a lot!
  9. My husband is extraordinarily concerned with the downtrodden, the handicapped and the lonely. He has no more inclination to spend his time with or give his attention to the wealthy, the entertaining, or the interesting people in his world than he does those who find it difficult to carry on conversations or those who require lots of extra time and patience. In fact, it often seems to be the other way around. I sometimes think this has to do with the fact that he wore a huge back brace all through high school because of his scoliosis. If this is why he is so kind to the friendless, I am glad he wore it. Clerks at store, waiters, mechanics, and especially the ladies at the post office love him. I get lessons when I go in there about what a great husband I have. (He shows them photos of Ezra, too.) I can learn a lot from him about agape and about just being friendly.
  10. My husband is extremely good to my aged father. I could write a book about barn doors and mowing and buying lunches and building rooms and finding cars and contacting lawyers and equipping Dad’s TV for football games and taking him to gospel meetings. But, suffice it to say, he’s very good to Dad. When I watch him with Dad, I smile and speak silent prayers of thanksgiving. He is faithful to call his own parents every Saturday night. He loves them dearly. Their influence and  importance in his world are unmistakably huge….But to care for  the father-in-law, too? That’s not always in the comfort zone.
  11. Money is far less important than are people to my husband.  I have witnessed him make some pretty big financial sacrifices for the well-being of other people in his world. Sometimes the other people are unaware that he has even made the payment or purchased the medical supply. I love that he uses things and loves people instead of the other way around.
  12. My husband is impeccably ethical in his dealings with others. He’d rather leave the questionable activity off than even take a chance at making a decision he might regret upon reflection. He’s also very logical in figuring out his personal scruples and there are Biblical principles of which he is aware and about which he is diligent in daily application. I’m glad, but I am almost equally glad that he took the time, as the kids were growing up, to bring these ethical dilemmas home to our family Bible times and present the scenarios to them, in words they could understand, and then walk them through the thought process, finally bringing them to the right decision. I think this was Ethics 101 for both of our kids and I think it was far more valuable than any college ethics or values class either of them ever subsequently had (and one of them has a PhD in Philosophy).
  13. I love that my husband is never vulgar. He never crosses lines of impropriety and he never embarrasses me with crude humor.
  14. My husband is complimentary of me, at every opportunity, as he speaks and writes and even in simple conversation. He calls me “Mrs. Colley” and I know something that I don’t mind the world hearing is about to come out of his mouth.
  15. He is sentimental…about things we were given by old family members, about his grandfather’s Bible, about sweet memories and photos of our children and about tokens of our early days together. He keeps things in drawers and in a safe and he keeps notes and cards in his desk at work. He loves the fuzzy picture of our son swinging in his lap more than the expensive and very clear professional shots from their childhood. And he will never, ever part with that baseball Caleb inscribed at age eight with the title “MVD…Most Valuable Dad”.
  16. He is NOT an athlete, but still he was the coach for both kids’ teams when they played in the Park and Rec league. They did not always have winning seasons with him as coach, but his coaching has produced some substantial life wins.
  17. My husband lets me have free rein in our house. I love that! He could be in all the decorating, menu, homeschool details as our home’s leader, but he isn’t. And he always acts like he likes my choices. That’s the best.
  18. He actually WANTS me to read to him—when we travel, when we go out in the Miata, and sometimes just when we go to bed at night. And he wants ME to choose the books. How rare is that in the husband community?
  19. In spite of all the sentiment, my husband is a man. He likes guns, carpentry, knives, cars and  even football (I had to bring him along to fanaticism about the Tide, but he’s there now.) He is the unquestioned leader of the Colley house and he is not a man you would ever even try to manipulate. It would never work.  Sometimes I almost think I do NOT like that, but then I reconsider and I do like it.
  20. Believe it or not, there is a shorter, far less consequential list of things I don’t like as much about my husband. Sometimes he goofs on grammar. Sometimes he drives while he is sleepy. He often—really often—forgets things. (If you have told him a sin struggle you are having or something embarrassing about your life or family, he likely prayed and prayed for you and then he forgot all about it. That’s often a very good thing. But he also forgets to mail things, to stop at the cleaners, to pick up things at the store, to call people back, and what happened in the previous episode of the BBC series we are watching.) He leaves his socks on the floor and his closet is a train wreck. He forgets to brush off the dust and grass before coming in from mowing and he opens a new bag of chips before using up the old one. Sometimes he forgets to cover up the spaghetti he is reheating in the microwave. I like this list about my husband, too, because it IS lots shorter and far less consequential AND because it makes me feel a little bit better about the things I constantly forget, the messes I make and the mercy that I need.

Sister to Sister: But, Why?

imagesIt was a great to be with so many last night via the Digging Deep podcast. We kicked off our year-long prayer study. It’s still not too late to invite friends to join us. The study group is a great tool for evangelism as well as personal growth. One of the features that many women like is that it really does allow you to go at your own pace, do what you can when you can and even relax if you fall behind or have to take a break along the way.

Last night we talked a bit about questioning God. There were several of our characters in the study who did just that. Abraham did it in Genesis 15, verses 2 and 8. Moses did it on several occasions (Exodus 5:22; Exodus 32:11; Num. 11:11). Job did it in chapters 40 and 42 and Rebekah did it in Genesis 25:22. Jesus even asked the question “Why?” in a wondrous fulfillment of prophecy as he hung on the cross (Psalm 22:1; Mark 15:34).

As we discussed our own prayers, we concluded that most of us have asked God questions in prayer. Two major categories of questions arose from your comments: (1.) We ask God HOW. How can I handle this situation? How can I be more godly in this strife? How can I please you as I meet this challenge? (2.) We ask God WHY. Why am I going through this most difficult trial? Why do I have to sorrow? Why can’t  I have a better circumstance at this point in my life? Why is this very hard command imposed upon my will?

I think we’d all agree that asking God HOW (i.e. for wisdom and maturity in handling our life’s trials and situations) is a good thing.  But, is it a good thing to ask WHY? I think it all depends on what we really want to know. Let me explain.

When I ask my child to do something and she responds with “Why?”, that is generally unacceptable. Oh, I know that it’s a good thing to put reasoning skills and rationales in the minds of our children as we go along, but there’s a lot to be said for the unquestioning respect of authority. I remember my mother putting it this way, “Obey first and ask questions later.” That advice is sound if the command is to get out of the middle of the street, buckle your seat belt, or stop talking during services. Perhaps retrospectively asking why is even a great learning experience. But, in the moment of decision, children must obey without questioning the reason. (That’s the reason, by the way, that counting to our children to give them “extra chances” to obey is not a wise idea. Often there is just no time for counting and you want your children to be conditioned to obey immediately every time.)

So it is with the commands of our God. Asking why baptism is commanded for salvation or why singing is the prescribed music form in worship or why we must withdraw fellowship in cases of blatant sin in the body is a child-like form of resistance to the ultimate Authority and it is not representative of a heart that has truly submitted to God, even when that heart and life may appear to be sacrificial and pious to men. “Behold to OBEY is better than sacrifice and to hearken than the fat of rams” (I Samuel 15:22—another passage that I heard from my mother about a bajillion times whenever I made excuses for disobedience).

But, on the other hand, I can ask why. If I truly want to find and fully take advantage of the heavenly purpose for situations, trials and sorrows in my sojourn on this planet, asking why is a very spiritually healthy thing to do. See, I really mean one of two things when I ask God why I lost this job? I mean “God, I am disappointed that you didn’t bless me as I thought you should and I am not happy with the way this is turning out!” or I mean “God, this circumstance is uncomfortable and I do not yet know what you are teaching me through it, but I want you to use this loss to fit me for heaven. Father, truly teach me why.” There is a vast difference between the two ‘whys”. When I become impatient with God, It usually comes out “Why is this happening to me? Why couldn’t it be someone else?” When I truly want to know his will and purpose in events and circumstances, the question is “Why NOT me? Let me be the one who learns and grows even from the difficult turns of events in this short life on earth. Whatever the pain, whatever the loss, whatever the burden, whatever the cross…if there is a straight shot to faith and heaven (or even a crooked and narrow one) through the trial, then ‘it is well with my soul.’”

Asking why is for the spiritually immature. But asking why is for the spiritually mature. Asking why either challenges God or it challenges me. It all depends on what I mean when I ask God “Why?”. Today, may I ask the “why” that helps me see heaven through the eye of faith.