culture · identity · relationships

how to put OK before your WHY

I don’t know why all of this is happening, it’s really hard to trust God’s plan right now. But we are not called to understand His plan. I’m reminded of yesterday’s sermon, say “okay” first and “why” later. It’s not easy, but one day we will see the full picture.

Joseph Philip Johnson

Today marks the first day of Lent: the Monday before Ash Wednesday, as the Church calendar calls it!

Unlike Advent, Lent isn’t accompanied with joyous singing, eating the best cookies our families can muster, and sharing good times and great laughs around a crackling fire.

No, Lent is different. It’s accompanied by pain, remembering our sin, broken lives, and how much we and this world need a Savior.

This morning my family and I were met with some gut-wrenching news. After a few months of hospital-free living, my mother-in-law is back in bed due to a fever that just won’t go away.

Questioning almost immediately filled my mind. Why, God? Why does this keep happening? How is this supposed to bring You glory and work out for our good? What about the pain and suffering she’s going through? Can’t you heal her?

Joe and I listened to a sermon this past Sunday that taught an incredible lesson about our heart’s position in relation to questioning and faith. It went something a little like this:

Have you ever noticed that the letters K and O come before Y? We teach our children this when they first learn the alphabet, and they go about their educational journey understanding the order of our letters. But what if this sheds a little light onto our spiritual journey as well? The story of the Ten Lepers in Luke 17 reminds us that God wants us to give thanks for His gracious gifts. When we are tempted and frustrated with our circumstances, shouldn’t our faith in Jesus cause our reaction to become “OK God” and then we can ask “WHY”? Even in the alphabet, O-K comes before Y. Our response in faith should always come before our questioning. Questioning isn’t bad, but remember this: God is looking for our heart when He answers.

John Hopler, Linworth Road Church {paraphrased}

My husband, who quoted the saying at the beginning of this post, reminded me that although we don’t understand why our family is experiencing the hand we are being dealt, we should always meet our pain with “OK God”.

He doesn’t get angry when we question what He’s doing; He knows we don’t understand! But when we doubt before we have faith, ask before we say okay, forget to turn back and thank Him for His blessings, we are no more than the nine lepers who didn’t praise Jesus when He healed them. Our lives get in the way of our praise, not the other way around.

This Lent season, my challenge to myself and maybe even to you is to start paying attention to how you react in seasons of pain. When you don’t get God’s plans, are you quick to ask why? Or is your response that of a humble servant? Respond in faith, knowing He is willing and able to do more than we could ever ask or imagine.

Just because we don’t understand, doesn’t mean God isn’t good anymore. Okay God, I trust you. I don’t get why You’re doing this, and I want to know why, and I want to question, but first take my okay response and make it pure. I’ll be waiting for an answer because I know You always give one.