Jen’s Gem: Trust God to get you through any challenge.
If you were one of the people who ever sat in a classroom with me, then you likely witnessed my incessant questions of the teacher. I was that annoying student who continued to press the instructor for more details and proceeded to respond to each answer with another question. This did not make me very popular especially as the clock ticked towards class being dismissed.
It was not my intention to be an irritant to my classmates, however, if I had a hunger for a topic, I wanted to ‘eat it up’ and learn as much as I could about it. I love to learn new things – to be exposed to new topics. Woe to my fellow students though if I got on a question jag!
As a parent, it’s likely that after your child learned to say “no”, they learned to ask “why”. It’s inevitable and I’m convinced it’s ingrained in their DNA. “Why do I have to go to bed?” “Why do I have to eat my broccoli?” “Why do I have to do my homework?”
Because I Said So
Early in my parenting years – influenced by the many books that instructed you to answer your children’s questions with thoughtful answers, I responded to all the why’s. I prided myself on complete and thorough responses. I even answered the plethora of additional questions that followed. (I can still see my mom rolling her eyes at me as I provided response after response.)Somewhere along the way, my lengthy explanations turned into “Because I said so.” I swore I would never say these words – as I was the recipient of them from my own parents. But after a while, the answer really was – because I said so. It was not meant to be a bully tactic, although I’m sure it might’ve come across that way from time to time. It was plain and simple. I’m the parent, I have more experience, and I know what’s best for you. In short, I don’t always have to give you a reason why.
While I do know better on many levels, it’s also a matter of trust – my kids trusting that yes, I do know a thing or two and I do have their very best interests at heart. My job is to guide them in the best way possible so they can lead their best lives.
The “why” questions my children pose to me these days are light years away from those asked as toddlers. My son, approaching 20 years old next month, asks deeper questions and I don’t always have answers. My daughter, 16 going on 30, still bends towards the rebellious questions which is why I’m so happy to have perfected my “because I said so” response.
You’re Not Alone
Our world is filled with people asking why. Why did the hurricanes happen? Why is there so much hatred? Why am I struggling? Why is my child sick? They look to the skies for answers but hear or see nothing that gives them peace. They get frustrated, confused, and angry at God who is supposed to love and care for them and prevent bad things from happening to them and their loved ones.As I grow deeper in my relationship with God, I am learning that no matter how many times I ask Him why something happened, I don’t get an answer – at least not in that moment. What I have found is that when I look back, I can see how a particular challenge helped me grow in a certain area or helped me move on from something that didn’t serve me. In short, I have to trust that God knows what He’s doing and the ‘why’ may be answered at some future point.
I can easily point to nearly every difficulty in my life and note the lesson I learned – or the opportunity that was given to me for having gone through it. I suspect you can too. That job you lost? That illness you overcame? That relationship that failed? It’s likely you say to yourself from time to time that had you not gone through it, you’d not be where you are or who you are today. It’s also likely that you are grateful for it. Am I right?
I’m grateful for all of the hardships I’ve faced mostly because they enable me to talk to and relate to others who’ve experienced the same thing. I don’t have to “fake” compassion or empathy for other’s troubles because I’ve lived through them myself. That’s a gift God has given me.
Now when I face a challenge, I try to look beyond it. I try to see that after I get through it, I will be stronger in some way, shape, or form. I’m learning not to whine and complain through it. I haven’t mastered that ability yet but it is my goal to do so. Because not doing so says that I don’t trust that God will get me through it or that He doesn’t have a plan for it in my life, which is simply not true.
Trust God For the Answers
I’d like to encourage you to think about some recent challenges in your life. What did you learn from them? How did your life change? Or – even better – how did it change someone else’s life? Instead of blaming God for the difficulty or questioning His motives, try to see the gift it provided you and the eventual gift it might provide to those around you. Then, take a moment and thank Him for the challenge and for helping you to move through it.I’m pretty sure that God is not responding with “Because I said so” to His children’s questions. Instead, He’s likely saying, “Trust me. I will get you through this.”
And He will.