Sustenance from the archives+: Day 4 – Why & FMF – Share

Sustenance from the archives+ (2)

Day 4: Why

Inherent in this one word question is a search for answers,
a pursuit of information or understanding.

Sometimes it is rooted in childlike curiosity.
At other times, it is a desperate cry in the face of the previously unimagined,
that which turns “them” into me, into us:
The bereaved.
Survivors of an earthquake or other natural disasters,
or personal events with an emotional impact of tsunami-like proportions.

The betrayed or the betrayer.
The divorced.
The fired.
The suddenly unemployed.
The previous homeowner whose house is now in foreclosure.
The evicted.
The newly diagnosed.
The parent of a child with mental health or developmental challenges.
The list can go on and on.

There is another question that I was taught years ago,
one to which, I am still learning to turn to after a difficult event.
One that moves me away from the default question, “Why?”
From what is often the futility of reaching for and even demanding
answers that God in His sovereignty may not provide on this side of eternity.

The other question is “What?”
“What will I do with what has happened?”
Because I truly do have a choice in how I respond,
and more times than I like, my response is all I have control over.

Experience has taught me that I may not be able to voice this question immediately,
not while the aftershocks are still being felt,
not during the time when emotions are raw and disorientation common.
Then my need is not for answers but for comfort and strength and abundant grace,
and family and friends who hug freely without the need to speak,
especially trite statements that provoke and even wound instead of heal.

But at some point, if I am to truly live in my new normal,
live without resentment and bitterness and anger and self-pity,
or a sense of having been somehow or somewhat betrayed by my Father,
I must sit with the “What?” question.
“What will I do with what has happened?”
Hold on to it?
Or turn it over to the Father
and accept His beauty for my ashes?
His oil of joy for my mourning?
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness?
Allow Him to use, as He sees fit, what He permitted in my life?
Let His strength be demonstrated in my weakness?

“What will I do with what has happened?
It is a question that no one can answer for us
and the answer or answers will shape us and our “after the … lives,”
as well as the lives of persons to whom we are connected.

Copyright © 2016. E. W. Wright. All Rights Reserved. 

*This version of the poem was originally published as “Why? What?” in the book, Sliced Bread: Food for the Spirit, released November 16, 2016, and shared on this blog on September 12, 2017.

Five Minute Friday: Share*

It can be easy to share our successes,
our victories,
our triumphs,
with the people we love.

But our failures,
our weaknesses,
our struggles?
These we can be tempted,
even inclined to hide,
Sometimes out of pride.
Sometimes out of fear
that we will be rejected.
Disapproved of.

But true intimacy requires vulnerability.

Help me to remember this truth, Abba,
When I am tempted to hide and pretend with those I love.

Let me counter this temptation with the truth that You know me fully and love me completely.
Let the truth that I am accepted in the Beloved, be enough for me to risk being vulnerable with my loved ones.

And let me be a safe place where they can feel free to share their struggles and troubles, and flaws and know that they will be accepted and loved and supported.

Abba, I pray once more, help me love my loved ones well.

*This post was originally published on this blog on October 18, 2017.

To read posts for Days 2 and 3 of the series, “Sustenance from the archives+,” please click on the link below.

Day 2: Afraid & Day 3: Believe

Please click here to learn about Five Minute Friday.



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