I have heard many of my friends and acquaintances asking a familiar question lately…”Why?”. I would be less than honest if I didn’t admit that this question has been a persistent, unwelcome companion in my life over the past several months. The questions I’ve heard from others often go beyond the one or two word inquiry, but the basis is the same, “I don’t understand.”…”Why is she so sick?, Why did he break up with me?, Why isn’t there enough money to pay the bills?, Why did she leave me?, Why do I feel so confused?, Why did he have to die?, Why am I so alone?, Why does it seem that nothing makes sense?”
I watched a video today about a global, grass roots movement whose purpose is to bring the number one international criminal, as deemed so by the International Crimes Court in Hague, to justice (Kony 2012). According to Wikipedia, “Directed by Joseph Kony, the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) has earned a reputation for its actions against the people of several countries, including northern Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Sudan. It has abducted and forced an estimated 66,000 children to fight for them, and has also forced the internal displacement of over 2,000,000 people since its rebellion began in 1986. As a result, in 2005 Kony was indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court at the Hague, but has succeeded in evading capture since.”
I am guessing not many reading this will ever know what it is like to live as a refugee during their lifetime. For the tens of thousands of children who have been victimized by Joseph Kony and the LRA, the horror of living on the run is a daily tragedy that has left many questioning, “Why?”. Life as a refugee is a cruel fate and one that too many on this earth have had to suffer through.
The longer I spend time on this planet, the more convinced I become that this is not my home. Though I have never lived as a refugee from my native earthly country, all believers of Christ live as refugees from our true home. Strangely, I find comfort in that reality as I navigate the uncertainties of life. Though I wish that I had more answers for my own and others, ‘Why’?, the one answer that does make sense is that this place we call earth is not really home. In fact, the more I try to live as if this IS my true home, the more ‘Why’s?’ emerge unanswered. The more I recognize this place is not permanent, the more I can endure and live with a healthy perspective on hardship.
If you are in a place of frustration and pain today, or even if your life is being lived on a ‘mountaintop’, consider the eternal perspective that the Lord wants us to have. Remember that one day all will make sense in the light of His presence, even if for now we have to settle with the oft unanswered question, “Why?”.
“By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants AS THE STARS OF HEAVEN IN NUMBER, AND INNUMERABLE AS THE SAND WHICH IS BY THE SEASHORE.
All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.” (Hebrews 11:8-16 NASB)
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.” (Romans 8:18-25 NASB)