My name is Michelle, and I recently stopped asking “Why?”
Not just to anyone — specifically to God. Things really got intense for me at the end of last year, when I received an email from my then workplace, saying they weren’t renewing my contract.
An email. Seven days before Christmas.
I should mention that earlier that year, I was let go from a different company because of financial reasons, simply because I was the last one hired. And add to that, how, that same fall I was on a business trip to Russia and received a Facebook message, saying I needed to move out of my apartment. (Before you get confused, I am a citizen of Canada and Germany, who lives in Stockholm, Sweden.)
Actually, the last four years of my life have been less than desirable. This month, I “celebrate” four years since my long-distance boyfriend broke up with me over Skype. It’s OK. You don’t have to feel sorry for me (though there have been times when I’ve felt sorry for myself). Laugh along with me. It’s hilarious.
My reaction to all of the upheaval and challenges was once, Why, God? Why? I needed someone to blame, some answer to the chaos swirling around me. Then, recently, my mom — in a way only a mother can — said to me, “Stop asking God why and start asking Him to bless the next season.” Oh. Right.
Chris Mendez, pastor of Hillsong Buenos Aires, recently preached at my church, Hillsong Stockholm. He confirmed what I already knew, but expressed it much more eloquently. He said, when we ask God, “Why?” we are showing our spiritual immaturity. Instead of asking why something is happening, we should ask Him what He is allowing us to learn.
Even my 16-year-old cousin understands this concept. This past summer she so wisely noted that anytime something is taken from her, she simply thanks God for protecting her. Hello, wisdom.
Whether it’s asking to fulfill a need, thanking Him for His protection or asking Him to teach us, we are simply putting our full trust in our Creator, Provider and Father. A quick read of John 14 shows us that Jesus trusted His Father completely and taught His followers to do the same. He told us: “Do not be anxious about your life … But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:25, 34).
So I took my mom’s advice … and that same night, just one day after I began looking for a new flat, in a city where there’s a massive housing shortage, I got the best home of my adult life. God provided a beautiful, brand new, one-bedroom apartment — with an elevator and a balcony! Even my atheist friend told me I should thank God for this one.
And although I had to find a new job over Christmas, that job is one of most challenging, demanding and perfect jobs I’ve ever had. Although it feels like many things have been taken from me this year, God has been faithful to replace so much of the loss with blessings — in a way only He could do.
Pain and loss may have been a large part of my reality during the past few years, but by choosing to keep my focus on God, His love and His greater plan I’ve stopped asking “Why?” In doing that, I’ve begun to notice how, even in the small things, God has been blessing the season I’m in.
Sure, no new boyfriend yet, but that’s OK. I have enough on my plate, organizing my new place, learning my new job and most importantly, soaking up the unconditional love of God.
Michelle is a global citizen and communications expert by profession. She enjoys watching movies at the cinema, partaking of Chinese dumplings and visiting Paris.