My dear sweet Sophie has finally mastered the W sound, after a year of working on it in therapy. A YEAR! It seems like such a simple thing to do, to form the lips into a round shape and then open them — “Wwwaaaa” — but it has been anything but simple. It’s really been rather painstaking!
Painstaking too has been her newfound love of the W sound in the form of the word “why.” I’ve always heard about this “why” stage that kids get into. “Mommy, why is your shirt green?” “Why do we have to go to school today?” “Why is granny not coming over today?” Everything. All. The. Time. WHY?
Here’s a conversation we had just the other day that mirrors what my life is like right now (literally, all day, every day).
Sophie: “Mommy, what are we having for dinner?”
Sophie: “Why are we having spaghetti?”
Me: “I don’t know, because I wanted it and daddy asked for spaghetti this week.”
Sophie: “But why did he ask for spaghetti?”
Me: “I don’t know, because he wanted to eat it.”
Sophie: “But why did he want to eat it?”
Me: “I don’t know because he just did.”
Sophie: “But why did he?”
And so it goes. With every. single. conversation. None of my answers can ever satisfy her whys.
So it’s gotten me thinking about all the times I’ve asked God why…. I wonder if I annoyed him. I wonder if, to him, my questions seemed pointless, unanswerable. I wonder if he got tired of hearing “why?” I wonder if I was the small child who was never satisfied with the answers he tried to offer me, though he owes me no answers. Never satisfied …
It’s actually not a question that I frequently ask of him anymore. I asked it A LOT in the early days with Sophie. A LOT. But as I’ve walked through her journey in particular, I find that I trust him more than to ask why most times. But lately my family’s journey has tempted me to whisper the word why?
I’m watching my father and mother who have faithfully served God for their whole adult lives (they are 80 and 70, respectively), go through a devastating season of mental illness for my father. And I hate every minute of it. It feels unfair in so many ways. And it feels so pointless. That’s when the quiet why? rises up. What good can possibly come of this? It just feels like suffering and stress and sadness. What good can come from something so horrible?
I don’t have an answer. But I do have faith.
I do know that every single time God takes someone into the wilderness in the Bible he has a purpose. Hagar. Jacob. Moses. The Israelites. David. Elijah. Jesus himself.
And I know that God shows up in the wilderness.
And when he brings us out of the wilderness, which he never fails to do, we are never the same again. So I’m holding on, hiding myself in the cleft of the rock, listening for the quiet whisper of God’s voice, here in the wilderness.