When I look at the ancient text of the Bible book of Joshua and think about what it is saying to me today – because you do know that every Bible book written has something to say to us today no matter how ancient – what does Joshua say to me? I start thinking…Have I been to “Egypt”? Has anything happened in my life that could be like Egypt was for the Israelite nation? Have I struggled and been refined? Have I grown into what God wants for me? Am I ready to take on the tasks He has set ahead of me? I believe that God grows us and refines us in all sorts of ways. But bad times, difficult times, often help us clarify what is really important: what we really need...who we really serve…what we are going to do with our lives.
As a preacher’s wife, I’ve heard a lot of things. I’ve listened to a lot of people’s struggles and heartaches; I've sat beside a lot of people and cried; I’ve held a lot of hands. When people hurt, they often seek spiritual counsel. If you want my honest opinion, I think God planned it that way: when people hurt they seek spiritual answers. But anyhow, I’ve heard a lot of stuff. I've walked through a lot of people’s “Egypt”s.
When people are having hard times in their lives they often ask questions. In my experience, we can ask questions that aren’t so good for us or we can ask questions that help us move along. Let me share one unhealthy question I hear when people are in difficult times.
This is a hard question and it is human nature to ask Why? But in my experience, it is really unhealthy. Because often, they are no good answers to Why?
Why do I have this illness?
Why was the drunk driver on the exact same road?
Why was my family member taken?
Why is my child suffering?
Why can’t I find a mate?
The list goes on and on for each situation. The problem with the Why? question is that you just spin your wheels on trying to answer it. There often is no good answer to Why? Often makes no sense in this life.
Now, a caveat to this is: sometimes asking Why? brings us back to our own poor choices. Why wasn’t I chosen for that promotion? Maybe you haven’t been making the best decisions at work. Sometimes a little introspection can be a good thing but so many people in a difficult spot come to this Why? question and then just stop and spin their wheels. Why? Why? Why? Why?
The Bible text does not record it anywhere but I don’t think it is too much of a leap to suppose that the Israelites in Egypt were asking the Why question.
Why are we enslaved? Why has God abandoned us?
We know the answer to those two questions; history has given us great perspective. God had not abandoned them; He was preparing them to be a great nation for Him.
Sometimes just like the Israelites, history is the only way we get perspective on why.
If you find yourself in a bad place…
If you are struggling…
If you find yourself asking "Why?" over and over with no real answer..
It’s time to replace the question…
Come back next week as we look at a better question.