“Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you’ll be able to see further.” – Thomas Carlyle
“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” – Martin Buber
Farther along we’ll know more about it… Farther along we’ll understand why. Cheer up my brother… Live in the sunshine… We’ll understand it all by and by. – (Written in 1911 by W.A. Fletcher and J.R. Baxter
Some questions in life are easier to answer then others. Personally, I’ve always found it easier to answer “what”, “when” and “where”. To be totally honest, even though it’s hard to admit, “how” and “who” have tripped me up from time to time 🙂
But “why” is in a league all its own. “Why” has to be the toughest question I’ve ever faced. “Why now?” “Why me?” “Why this?” “Why them?”
Have you ever wondered why certain people seem immune to grief and others have a life filled with it? Why is one life taken so early and so young while others live long and prosperous ones? Why the cancer and why now? Why does it seem that good people suffer more than those who have imposed suffering on others? Why is God allowing this to transpire in my life at the moment? Why has all my hard work and effort gone to waste? Why is someone who loves me behaving like this? Why have they suddenly changed?
Are you currently asking yourself “why”, trying to find answers in the midst of confusion and doubt? If so, here’s some food for thought:
The Why’s of Life build Faith
Our lives are filled with blessings and hardships, but only in the “whys” associated with those hardships can faith grow.
Think if life were nothing but a bowl of cherries – constantly served to us on a silver platter. In a world like this, there would never be any cause or reason for faith to exist. We all know by experience and practicality that our world doesn’t work like this. Hardships and suffering are realities each of us face.
If you think back to past difficulties you’ve encountered, I’m sure you see how each has shaped your faith. The fires of adversity have forged it, purifying and strengthening it – causing it to grow and expand.
As faith strengthens and deepens, it helps you survive the cyclical ups and downs of life. God is keenly and lovingly aware of this fact – providing ample opportunities for us to strengthen our faith in Him. You see, those “why” questions come from Him because He knows what can result from their presence in our lives.
As your life unfolds, you begin to see the next hardship in a different light. The suffering doesn’t cut as deeply as it did. Growing faith acts like a beacon in the lives of others – helping shine a light on any darkness they are experiencing. This kind of faith only transpires through hardship. It’s this kind of faith that causes us to live our lives “in the sunshine” as Fletcher and Baxter so eloquently wrote. It’s the peace that Christ was referring to when he said:
“Peace, I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” – John 14:27 ESV
The Eternal Aspect of “Why”
The “why” questions in our life take on a different meaning when we separate them from the present moment – looking at them with eternal perspective. As Fletcher and Baxter write, “Farther along we’ll understand why”.
I was recently chatting with my mother about her grandchildren – two of them being my own daughters. She told me how fortunate they are – having established relationships with their own parents and grandparents into their thirties.
My mother wasn’t so fortunate. She has very vague memories of her own grandparents – each having passed away when she was a very young girl. Her own father died when she was 26 and her mother when she was only 32. She has spent many years of her life without them.
But my mother often talks about this hardship with an eternal mindset. She knows she will have far more time WITH her parents and grandparents than she ever did WITHOUT them. Her own questions about “why” this happened are dampened by her ability to ask those “whys” with an eternal perspective.
“Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” – 1 Corinthians 13:12 NLT
Keep Moving Forward Despite the Whys
I love how Thomas Carlyle encourages us to keep going as far as we can see – taking the steps that God has made clear to us in the moment. By doing so, we can take confidence in knowing the next steps will become more distinct.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.“ – Proverbs 3: 5-6 NIV
Too often we can get bogged down in the “whys” of life – quitting when we don’t understand or see the reasons behind what is happening. Trust God my friend! He knows the answers to all your “why” questions and has a very distinct, destined purpose behind why they have surfaced right now.
Speaking of moving forward…. Isn’t the concept of “farther along” so wonderfully comforting? It implies that we are never left to muddle in the uncertainty of the moment – made to forever question “why” things have unfolded like they have. Thank God for “farther along”! Thank God that all of the “why” questions have a deeper meaning for us down the road! Thank God that He has promised us clarity, understanding, and purpose surrounding those questions!
Tonight, if you are dealing with difficult “why” questions, I pray that you begin to see how God is strengthening your faith through them – a faith you will cling too in the future hardships you face. I hope you begin to “live in the sunshine” – having peace that God is with you in each “why” question you confront.
I also pray that you begin to look at those “why” questions with an eternal perspective – realizing how drastically they change and evolve when you choose to see them outside of the current moment. I hope you embrace the peace that comes from knowing “You’ll understand it all by and by” 🙂