Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Don't Try to Figure Out Why

Dear Friends,
One thing we should avoid as best we can is wasting too much energy trying to figure out the whys.  “But that’s impossible,” I hear you say.  “I have so many questions.”  Perhaps you could ask God a different question.  How about asking how instead of why?

When Mary was visited by Gabriel and told she was to have a baby – and not just a baby but the baby, the one every Jewish girl hoped she would be privileged to bear – she didn’t ask why but rather how.  She could quite understandably have asked, “Why?  Why now?  Why here?”  Instead, she simply asked, “How?”  The answer to “How can I possibly do the will of God in this incredible situation?” was quite simple, given by the angel visitor:  “The Holy Spirit…” Immediately Mary responded with a glad “I am the Lord’s servant.”

I have tried to train my reactions to behave in such an exemplary fashion.  When my husband was needed to travel around the world as a leader and evangelist, I was tempted to ask, “Why?  Why now? [We had small children and widowed mothers to care for.]  Why here, far away from family to help me – why?”  It was a struggle, but I managed to start asking, “How?  How will I find the strength to live above these difficult circumstances, Lord?  How will I be able to be a mother and a father to three small children?”  When a “Why couldn’t other men on the team take their turn on the road, why does it have to be my husband?” sort of question would raise its head, I’d counter it with, “Why shouldn’t it be my husband?  Thank you, Lord, for the privilege of being married to someone you are using so greatly!  How can I be a partner at this time?  How can I be both a mom and dad so he can go in peace, knowing things are taken care of at home base?”  God’s answers to my how questions were always the same.  They were the answers Mary received from Gabriel.  The Holy Spirit would overshadow me, and in His power the challenge would be faced and His will would be done.

So next time a why starts demanding to be heard, try running instantly to the waiting room in order for the how to begin.  It is in our internal “still point” – our waiting room – that, as we worship, we will be helped to lay down our whys at His feet.


Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine


  1. Thank you for turning "why" to "how." I'd never considered that before. Your posts are a great blessing to me. Thank you.