Friday, May 1, 2015

When We Ask ‘Why?’

Northern transplant Victoria Russo moves to the charming southern city of Charleston, South Carolina, from cold Connecticut, hoping to renovate her career, her life, and an old house. Instead, she faces animosity, betrayal, and calamity. Will she repeat the pitfalls of her past mistakes, or find the freedom and restoration she seeks?
By Marie Wells Coutu

Why do some people struggle through life, while others seem blessed?

I have friends and family members who struggle with health, financial, and relationship issues. Others, including my husband and me, seem to be blessed with (mostly) good health, good friends and healthy finances. And I wonder what the difference is.

Oh, wait. Sometimes I have to remind myself that we have struggled in all those areas in years past. And may in the future. We just happen to be going through calm seas right now. As one of our friends likes to say, “We’re living the good life.”

But during those times of trouble, it’s tempting to ask God, “Why?”

And that’s OK!

With thanks and apologies to one of my pastors, I am reminded of these things, based on Genesis 25 (Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Esau).

-God doesn’t mind if we ask Him, “Why? Why me? Why this? Why now? Why not now?” (See James 1:6).

-But God doesn’t owe us an answer. “And they will know that I am the Lord; I did not threaten to bring this disaster on them without a reason” (Ezekiel 6:10, HCSB). (Also see Job 38-41.)

--God has a plan, and His plan is always good.

We may never understand until we see the situation from the other side of life. In Corrie ten Boom’s home in Holland, there hangs an embroidered cloth with the finished side facing the wall. The ten Boom family (who were imprisoned and tortured for their role in aiding Jews during World War II) wanted to reveal the knotted, messy back side of the picture as a reminder that the Master is working out a beautiful picture, even though all we see are the tangled threads.

Sometimes, knowing what we will have to face in the future would be too difficult for us. In the words of the great philosopher Jack Nicholson, “You can’t handle the truth.”

We can ask, but we can also cling to the truth that God knows the plans He has for us—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11, HCSB).

So go ahead. Ask, “Why, God?” But then, whether you see the answer or not, trust in His plans for your future. And cling to that Hope that only He can give you.

Marie Wells Coutu began telling stories soon after she learned to talk. At age seven, she convinced neighborhood kids to perform a play she had written. She wrote her first book, “I Came from Venus,” in eighth grade, but studied journalism in college. After a career writing for newspapers, magazines, governments, and nonprofits, she returned to her first love—writing fiction—at the age of fifty-five. Her debut novel, For Such a Moment, won the Books of Hope Contest. Thirsting for More, the second book in the Mended Vessels series, released in April 2015. Books in the series are contemporary re-imaginings of the stories of biblical women, including Esther and the woman at the well. Marie retired after 15 years with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and she and her husband now divide their time between Florida and Iowa.


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