My Lyft driver must have guessed me as a country girl (about 50/50 I’d say). I grew up in the best of both worlds, the city and the cornfields. All I know is he asked me what genre of music I wanted to hear and when my fatigue spoke and told him to choose, we drove home listening to songs about trucks and drowning our memories.
I love most genres by the way. Including country music, but the sad kind of songs in smaller doses.
This has little to do with what I’m going to write about this week, other than to say that we often assume things about people based on what we see externally.
Which isn’t completely a bad thing and is actually innate and protective. We make judgements based on what our eyes see, what our senses feel, and what our brain interprets that our response should be. Not always a bad thing. I would never tell someone to ignore their intuition or gut feeling.
But we also have a gross tendency to make assumptions that aren’t always correct and can create a lot of misery if we aren’t careful. I’ve had to eat a humongous slice of humble pie more than once in my life. Too many times to count actually.
We tend to assume that others don’t struggle with the very things that we do. So we suppress. We hide. We categorize people, leaving us all the more isolated and lonely than we are meant to be.
I had a conversation with an eighty-six year old that caught me off guard recently. We were talking about his life, parenting, death, the afterlife. You know….all the things. He is severely hard of hearing, so I had to shout loud enough that it felt like the whole city could hear. We were quite the sight, sitting there shouting about doubt and faith.
Maybe I was the one who needed to hear our exchange of words most of all.
Just because you reach a certain age doesn’t mean you outgrow the wrestling that is common to the human experience.
Just because you survived one trauma doesn’t mean there won’t be days in the future you won’t know how to navigate through.
Just because you pastor a church, lead a small group, have read the whole bible, or don’t appear to have questions doesn’t mean you won’t face discouragement, weariness, or that you are protected from the three letter word most of act like we don’t long for the answer to.
I wrote a few weeks ago about a story in the Bible of two sisters who sent for Jesus because their brother was gravely ill. And when Jesus delayed coming to their aid, they faced heartbreak, grief, disappointment, and I imagine a whole litany of questions and other emotions.
When Jesus arrived and saw them wrecked with sobbing and grief, the text says this:
There is a lot of speculation as to why. That He was grieved that these people He loved were in so much pain.
That He was troubled at their disbelief.
I think both are very possible. But this is what I believe to be true in my heart. This is what I believe to be true on the other side of my own trauma, heartbreak, and my own seasons of wrestling, questions, and doubts.
I think He wept because they felt abandoned by God. I think He wept because they doubted his good intentions toward them.
I think about my own children. Those four precious gems I gave birth to that I would literally give my life for. And to think they would ever question that I only have good intentions toward them is the most heartbreaking thing I can imagine. And I am far from the perfect parent.
I don’t think God is surprised by our questions at all. We were created in His image and He is the embodiment of imagination, creativity, and wonder. We are meant to use our brains and to analyze, critique, and question things. Do not feel bogged down in shame over that.
It’s what we do with our questions that matters. Let them drive you to Him, not away from Him.
Questions invite answers, but we don’t always get the answer we want. Sometimes we get the thing that we need more than the answer: trust.
Trust that God’s heart and intentions toward us are only capable of good. Even when our situation doesn’t seem good. It’s the one thing we can trust. We may not be able to trust that life will always be good. Life will be a blended harmony of beautiful highs and painful lows. But we can trust that His heart towards us is always good.
And when questions arise like a three year old on repeat, we can rest and know that it’s okay to not have the answers.