About a month ago, I shared a message about big buts and getting rid of those buts by asking, “What if?” You can read that post here if you haven’t yet (or to refresh your memory). Once you get in the habit of asking “What if?”, it becomes empowering to think of all the things God has chosen to accomplish through you and with you.
There are still going to be times, though, that instead of asking “What if?” we ask God “Why?”…
Why did ________ have to happen?
Why didn’t You do _______ for me? For my loved one?
Why are you asking me to do ________?
Why do I always get stuck with _______?
We all go through this phase. It is not just a “little kid thing” – asking “Why?” after every sentence until the answer is simply “Because!”. When you stop to think about some conversations you’ve had with God, I bet you find a lot of “Why’s” in there. I know I do.
It can be easy to get caught up in and frustrated with these questions, especially when they seem to go unanswered. In order to help us break the frustrating cycle of “Why?”, I want us to think about another two word question – “Why not?”
Why not look for God’s presence in what happened?
Why not look for what God did do for you? For your loved one?
Why not choose to do what God is asking?
Why not count it a blessing that God has chosen you to do _______?
WHY NOT?! J
The key to asking this question is to not immediately follow it with “Because ________” and list some excuse(s) for why it could not or would not work. We must take the time to hear the question – “Why not?” – and allow our minds to think about all the positive outcomes that would be possible when we choose this one path or answer.
There is a story in the Old Testament about a king of Judah, Jehoshaphat, who was not afraid to ask andanswer the “Why not?” question:
In 2 Chronicles 20, there are multiple armies wanting to wage war against Jehoshaphat. The king could have asked “Why us God?” and chosen to be fearful of what these armies would do, but instead, Jehoshaphat chose to seek the Lord with all the people of Judah (20:3-5).
Why not follow God?
He chose to acknowledge before Judah who God is and remind his people of God’s faithfulness to them, even in uncertain times (20:6-13). Why not trust in God’s faithfulness?
He chose to listen to the Spirit of the Lord, heard through the prophets, and follow the Lord’s instructions so that Judah could participate in the deliverance of the Lord (20:14-21). Why not take time to listen for God’s response?
“Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful” (20:21).
The success you receive from obedience to God will not look like worldly success. It may not bring wealth, power, or prestige. It will not cause all of your problems to go away today. But it can bring you peace (Phil. 4:6-8), joy (1 Thes. 1:6) and assurance (Acts 2:36; John 10:10) beyond anything this world can offer. Why not choose His way first?
Spend some time this week writing down your why’s, the struggles you have in wanting answers from God.
Then write down your why not’s, the things you can do as you choose to trust God and participate with His plan rather than create your own.
Remember you have been chosen to participate with God. He wants you to join Him in rejoicing and celebration.
This message is adapted from a presentation given at CONVERGE EAST, a conference hosted by GCI Generations Ministries. More information can be found at http://genmin.gci.org/.