I have a list. (Surprising, no?) A list of questions that I plan to ask God as soon as I get to heaven. It’s not a real long list, but it has some of the most important questions in my heart:
- Why did my friend Carrie have to die in that car accident?
- Why did my mother-in-law have to die before she was even 50?
- Why did God send me to grad school? (Why didn’t I love grad school?)
- Why didn’t our church plant work?
- Why did I lose my job while I was pregnant?
- Why are Annalyn and I okay and healthy (despite a delivery at 33 weeks)?
These are the hard questions of life. Or at least of my life.
Don’t ask me to ponder why the sky is blue or why birds sing or if zebras are white with black stripes or black with white stripes. We can figure out those things (some of us can recall our biology classes, the rest of us can look it up on Google), and they don’t impact my heart anyway.
But these things that don’t make sense, that don’t fit into a box, that don’t stay resolved – these are the things I long to ask God. Until then, though, I’m thankful that God has the answers. Even if I don’t.
No, especially if I don’t.
Because when it comes down to it, I don’t have to understand or even like the way things are. But I believe that God has a reason, an answer. And part of me is glad that my God is so big that no one can know His thoughts but Him.
I’m thankful (especially this time of year) to love, serve, and know a God big enough for my questions . . . and His answers.
Are the holidays ever hard for you? What are the questions on your list?
If the holidays are hard for you or someone you love, we recommend the best-selling book Rain on Me: Devotions of Hope and Encouragement for Difficult Times by (in)courage cofounder Holley Gerth.
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Appreciate your transparency on this! There is freedom in admitting we don’t have all the answers.
I once had a dream about my list of questions and wrote about it here:
i try to rest in that… that He is so big and so great. and that if i had the answers to these questions, that would make Him somehow less… and oh, my heart needs Him to be just as big and great as He is!
Bonnie Redfern says
I have often wrestled with a similar list and found great wisdom in John 16:16-24. Jesus is telling His disciples about his return ~ when He will turn their sorrow into joy. Nestled in that passage is a small phrase that lifts my soul: “And in that day, you will ask me no question.” I do not know if I will instantly understand His plan or if it really will not matter any more, but His promise is that there will be joy!
May your season be filled with His joy!
Elizabeth Mahlou says
When the kids were growing up (of seven, three are handicapped), it seemed like one of them was usually in the hospital over Christmas, and I cannot remember any Christmas where we had any extra money at all for gifts. So, gifts consisted of one each of a special book (some years; e.g., my gifted daughter wanted a university textbooks on genetics, which I got used at the university bookstore for $5) or a book of coupons for time alone doing something or other with Mom or Dad (actually, the coupons were a real hit, and the kids did use every coupon by the time the year was over). We did always have a tree, but on a couple of occasions we had to get one for free on the day after Christmas when the local Christmas tree lots abandoned theirs. Not a problem: I worked internationally (yes, one can work internally and still be poor when one has chronically ill children), and so I was used to other days for celebration (New Year’s, Orthodox Christmas, etc.), and my kids went along with. We gave the poor abandoned Christmas tree a wonderful decking out with strings of popcorn and cranberries and ornaments that we had collected as gifts over the years, some rather unique ones from abroad. We strung red and green paper chains around the house, and all was quite festive. We would open the gifts, with the youngest reading the names, on the various packages and envelopes, have Christmas dinner (at noon, made by Donnie, since I am pretty incompetent in the kitchen), and, leaving the kids to enjoy time off from school with each, head out to see whichever child was in the hospital, more often than not, Noelle, who spent 90% of her Christmases there. (It was not as bad it sounds: the hospital always brought in fun and entertainment.)
I would now not give up those years for all the glitter in the world. If God wanted to teach values to the children of an atheist, I would say our annual Christmases did the trick. They all (we all) became grateful for what we did have, not avaricious for what we did not have. We learned to value each other because with Noelle’s two clinical deaths and Doah’s five clinical deaths, life became a magical thing to which one clings with awe and thanksgiving.
My only regret is that while we had these wonderful Christmases together with each other, God was not in the mix — well, clearly God was there, but no one acknowledged that. Over time, God has reached out to my children (obviously, as an outspoken atheist, I was not going to be the conduit), and then finally a little over three years ago God conked me on the head really hard. So, I finally get it. I may regret not raising my children with a sense of God’s presence in their lives, but God was present nonetheless, teaching them to love what they have: each other. Anything more goes beyond measure.
Rachel Crawford says
It is unfathomable for me to comprehend the deepness of an infinite God. And in that deepness are the answers, all of them. I have to wonder if I will even care about my questions anymore when I finally find myself in His presence. And my questions are GIANT(my twin daughters died 18 months ago)but He is more giant. His presence will fix everything. I look forward to that more than the answers…I want resolution more than answers. Answers now would still leave me with empty arms. With my daughters back in my arms in the presence of my Heavenly Father, the answers simply wouldn’t matter anymore. Until Heaven…
Jennifer @ GDWJ says
Mary, I have the same sort of list. I keep it in a manila folder marked “MYSTERY FILE” in my office.
Even when I don’t know the answers, I’m glad I know the One who does.
Great list, Mary. We all keep them – it’s refreshing to see them asked out loud, though. Thank you.
My why questions would fill this entire page. I am learning to let go and let God do what He will. It’s challenging when we don’t know the answer, but I must forever hope against hope and believe He is faithful~
Mary @ Passionate Perseverance says
The list is long…but the answers are not important. God is God and I am not. He sees the whole plan and I do not. So I walk step by step and each day trusting in HIs plan. Not always easy but I walk nonetheless and most days there is a smile on my lips, grateful for His generosity and abundant grace.
My questions: Why did he have to die? God can fix anything, why not fix him? Why did he have to die that way? Couldn’t it have been easier? Couldn’t we have been spared some pain? Why save him from an earlier/easier tragedy to allow him to suffer again, only worse?
Hillary @ The Other Mama says
I love your list and might create one myself. If anything, just as a reminder that I will never know the answers and the God does. And His plan for me is greater than my need to know the answers.
Love this, Mar! Thanks!
wow. I love your blog. I have never made a list, but your list made me think of a few questions I will ask God, too. I have come to accept the fact that I do not have the answers, and am happy to trust God to take care of me in my walk with Him. More and more I realize this walk will not always be easy or fun, but with His hand on me, I will continue walking. It’s a journey I do not want to miss.
i have plenty of questions. i’ve just never been one to ask them. not of God anyway. i don’t know why. i never even thought about it until just now. i mean, i have a long list of things like yours that i wonder about — or rather that i ache deeply about. but i never even bother to ask. is i because i don’t want to hear the silence of a reply? or because i’m scared of the answer? hmmm…