Why? Why do bad things happen to good people? Why is this happening to ME? Why would God allow this to happen? Why? Why? I have spent many years in the why’s. I guess you could say I camped out there – I camped out there so long that eventually my tent became so tattered and torn from bitterness that I had to rethink it. Why? You know what I realized? That I was asking myself the wrong question all along.
My chronic illness journey has been going on for 6 years now – longest 6 years of my life. It started 2 months after I married the love of my life. Now imagine that for a second – you say “I do” without ever knowing that the worse part of ‘for better or worse’ is in an instantaneous moment. Why? Why would God do this to us? We have our whole lives ahead of us! Yep, didn’t take long to set up that camp and I stayed there for quite some time. It’s only been this last year that I realized I was looking at things all wrong…. I had my readers on when I needed my glasses to see the distance. I was looking at the moment – at the close up, and not at the distance to which Christ was bringing me, preparing me.
Today, I can honestly tell you, I wouldn’t change a thing. I wouldn’t go back even if I could. You see, God has finally, ever so gently, shown me that I had the wrong glasses on all along. He removed them and put on His glasses of Truth. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.
Do you get it? All we are going through is for a greater purpose! Yes, I know that’s hard to swallow when our hearts are broken in a million pieces or we are in agonizing physical pain. But let me ask you a question: do you think, in your current storm, you could thank God for your struggle? James 1:2-3 tells us Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Pure joy?!?! That never really made any sense to me! Thank you God for all of our medical bills? Thank you God that my legs won’t move today? Thank you God that my babies will never remember a healthy Momma? Why? But look, those questions are ones being asked looking through readers – I wasn’t looking past 2 feet in front of my face.
Then God showed me that I was asking the wrong question. Instead of why, I should have been asking how? How can this be used for His glory? Remember when I asked if you could thank God for your struggle? Well, what if God was using you? And yes, it could mean that some stranger is seeing how you are handling your storm and a seed is planted. But what if God uses your struggle to win someone to Christ? I know, you may be thinking some days the pain and hurt isn’t worth the stranger I could help. I get that – pain is real and pain is hard. But what if it’s your best friend that you have been praying for to find Him? What if it’s your husband, the love of your life? What if it’s your mom, dad, brother or sister? What if it saves your baby boy? THAT is why I wouldn’t change a thing. Because if God uses my struggle to ultimately win one person to Christ, then it was all worth it! It very well could be some stranger on the street, but it also could be someone we love so dearly… Would you like to change your answer?
How? God, how can you use this? I feel like being chronically ill has become my identity, and not in a bad way! It seems everywhere I go, God draws me to hurting, sick people. This week, I was selling some shoes to a woman on a local swap site and she started telling me about her 2 brain tumor surgeries and how hard it was because no one understood her. No – I have never had cancer and I am so thankful for that. But the pain is still the same. We hurt the same and we cry the same. We both cried in that parking lot – she needed to talk and God placed me there to listen. How? Not why. There is no hope in why! What could God ever say to answer why that would tame our bewildered hearts? Nothing – nothing would have been a good enough answer for me. Because in my why’s He even told me that I was going through this for others. Well, that’s a BIG pill to swallow! No offense, ya’ll – I love yah – but back then, I didn’t care enough about God’s big picture to go through this pain FOR anyone! I was miserable and I couldn’t stop asking why? It wasn’t until I realized that asking how is the only way to considering our trials pure joy.
Listen, you can do this. We can do this together. God so desperately wants to use you, He may just be waiting to hear that 3 letter word from you… How?
Lord Jesus, you know our hearts and you know our need for answers. But we are praying today for you to take down our camps of whys and help us to turn our eyes and our ears to you. Help us to ask HOW every day, Lord. How may we use our struggles and storms for Your glory? Help us to take our readers off and TRUST the unseen, for you are so TRUSTWORTHY Lord. For it is here we will find true peace and surrender. We ask this in your precious name. Amen.
Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Psalm 62:8
Jennifer M. Frisbie says
Thank you for sharing your heart. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the whys – especially due to chronic illness. I’ve been there. Some days I am STILL there. These are wonderful words of encouragement, Jodi!
Thank you Jennifer! I will be praying for you to have a good health day today my friend. Your sweet words are so encouraging to me – thank u 💗
Joyce Pendleton says
So true. One time when I saw my Doctor, she let me know that because of what I had gone through it saved another’s life. How? He had the same symptoms I had and was saved from going through the same pain and suffering because of the recognition the symptoms. He was an older gentleman….and would have died due to the severity of the condition. My first thought and spoken words? Praise God….I hear you Jodi….
Oh Joyce, I love that! What an amazing testimony of God’s grace in the midst of our questions, our pain, our suffering. Thank you for sharing & what a true testimony you are to so many others 💗
Betsy Branstetter says
This is truth Jodi. Everything is used in God’s economy. Nothing wasted. And I ask “why not?” I deserve nothing. I am amazed that God blesses me so much more than I deserve.
I love that – everything is used in God’s economy. Thanks for taking the time to read this sweet friend!