This breeding ground of stress existed in me undetected until two years ago. It’s like a computer app that operates in the background – not draining a lot of battery life but always on. And on and on. Always leaking a little power…and more than we think until we are set free from it. What is it? The quiet and unending search for the WHY.
Two years ago our six month old grandson was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder and spent three months in pediatric intensive care. Only two hospitals in the world specialize in little Ezra’s condition, one in Paris, France and the other in Philadelphia, and so he was flown via medical transport from UCLA Children’s Hospital to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Based on tests done at UCLA the plan was for surgery to be performed at CHOP that would cure him. Hope was high as Ezra and his mom were loaded on the medical jet for the flight to CHOP. But it was not to be. As the world renown surgeon began to operate it became obvious that the 5% chance that the tests could be wrong came true. Smiley and happy little Ezra could not be cured surgically.
I have a hunch all of you have a similar story that launched you on a search for a “why?” It might be something that happened to a close friend or family member. It might be something that has happened to you. In all these it is so easy to keep looking and waiting for the missing puzzle piece that will answer the “why.” Sometimes we look to the past for causes. More often I look to the future, to spot the good that will come out of the situation so that can be the answer to the “why”.
Oh I know all the Christian answers. The cliches. God is sovereign. God is loving and He is always good. And then there is the one that keeps me searching into the future, “God works all things for good…”. I believed all of those, but in the background my radar stayed turned on searching for the missing puzzle piece just in case it came floating by. For sure I didn’t want to miss it. After all, mysteries are to be solved.
That all changed one day over lunch with a young millennial named Josh. Josh had walked through some deep times. Times that left unanswered “whys”. As he shared his journey he turned to Proverbs 3:5,6 – “Trust in the Lord…do not lean on your own understanding.” I knew that verse. Had it memorized…to little effect. And then Josh shared a paraphrase he believed God had given him that changed everything. He shared this, “God gives permission to not understand.“
Freedom! I had permission to turn off the radar, to stop trying to solve the mystery. I did not realize how constant and how much quiet effort I was putting into to figuring out the “whys” of life – to understand. God used Josh to change all that. God is okay with me not understanding. Actually he gives me the freedom and permission to not understand. He knows in this life I never will. He wants me to live contented in the mysteries of His will with a restful trust. He loves my trust. The mysteries of life belong to God and so my attempts to understand them will never be accurate. Therefore don’t rely on my understanding. It won’t be trustworthy. I need to “Trust in the Lord…”, the one I can trust with the mysteries and unknown “whys” that fill my life.
God gives me permission to not understand. My rest is not in understanding, but in trusting. And so is yours.