To ask the question, “why?” to some of the deeper, darker questions of life can actually be quite destructive. To ask “what’s next?” might be a better question.
I found myself getting tangled in the “whys” of our story. I found myself wondering in a very western way…if it was something I had done or something someone else had done? Was there a lesson to be learned that I had missed in my early Christian life–a hard lesson He wanted to teach me? Had we misheard or misunderstood the Spirit’s “nudge” to adopt? And the biggest question banging around in my brain: Was God the orchestrator of it all? I found myself longing for my “why” to make sense of something that seemed purely non-sensical. I was tangled in a destructive web that only seemed to harm my relationship with God and my trust of others. I actually resented words and scripture quoted–words that might be contextually true but were missing the heart of Christ when delivered. Just because we have heard someone say, “God always knows best, or all things work together for good. ” Doesn’t mean that He is orchestrating these things (like a grand puppeteer)…nor will we see the good this side of heaven.
Delving in to a delightful read called, “Is God to Blame?” (by Gregory Boyd) brought freedom in my search for answers to the unanswerable “why”. The book has helped me to focus on a far more important question of “what’s next?”…because at the end of the day…we are only guaranteed this day, this breath, and I don’t want to stay tangled forever. The book is a must read for anyone who has ever circled and circled around God’s goodness and his infinite power…citing inconsistencies with the evil, and unspeakable brokenness that envelopes our world. I could not unify these two truths: Seeing what I had seen…and continue to see daily on the news…yet still harboring His love in my head. It simply could not land in a safe spiritual spot. “Is God to Blame?” has quenched my sponge-like thirst concerning the faith-altering questions that Chris and I have circled our wagons around for the past year. A “good read” is an understatement. Anyone I know claiming faith in our Heavenly Father would be wise to invest in this researched and scripturally founded book. It might jostle your theology around a bit…but we actually need to do this–I believe it will awaken a fuller understanding of God’s love. The book will help you walk through suffering and help you help others to walk through suffering with far more grace and clarity on what in reality is actually happening.
I want to now take a moment to share what is “actually happening” with Caroline and Jonathan. A dear friend of mine connected in January sharing she planned to visit the hometown of her adoptive children. This same town happens to be near the village I knew Caroline and Jonathan to be currently living. After much deliberation we made the decision to send this faithful friend (who had known and met our children) with letters from our family. I wanted to be so careful not to further do damage to their little hearts…but my more recent reality has been…we never fully heal…we are either transformed or destroyed…so to this end, we realized we would like to share our love and remind the kiddos they are not forgotten.
The text I received from my friend sharing photos of C and J were wrapped with tragedy and beauty. Caroline and Jonathan are in the homes of the family who trafficked them. A home that was (from what we understood) never safe. And yet…the children as best my friend can tell…are okay. They are in school. They are together. They appear relatively healthy…there wore smiles on their faces. They are okay. They sent a video greeting…it is more than I could have asked for…and brought hope to a very dark story.
To think in the future this friend might be able to send our love and our messages, our memories, cherishing them and our short time we had together…is miraculous.
Initially, making peace with and finding contentment over our circumstances left me mostly asking why? This most recent connection with our kiddos and the helpful guidance of Gregory Boyd has catapulted us forward leaving the unanswerable behind…embracing a new trust and new hope…giving birth to a new question: “what’s next?”
With fists unclenched…palms up… “What’s next?”
God did not cause the chaos that occurred in our lives over the past few years. I believe chaos will continue to reign until Heaven comes down…only then will true restoration occur. For now…we are either transformed or destroyed by the darkness…and we can stay tangled in the why* or we can trust and ask what’s next?
I don’t know where you are–but I hope you never lose hope upon your journey. I pray you will be sustained while enduring the darkest of days. Faith, hope and love do win out in the end.
May You Be a Blessing and May You Be Blessed,
*No judgement…I have been tangled in the why for almost a year now…just saying eventually we realize that simply is not a reasonable question.