A three letter word fathoms deep—
Echoing endlessly back and perpetually forward.
Every age, every era, every millennium asks.
Young and old. Male and female.
This word can be the hardest, deepest and saddest of all questions.
Why is often connected to cause and effect circumstances we can’t trace.
Why often remains answerless.
Why is a tangential question—a great tree that continues to branch and fork and grow in ringed girth.
Why is a child’s question—steeped in curiosity. Asked in the earliest stages of a child’s wing development. Asked when a teenager begins to stretch and discover flight.
Asked when a spouse leaves. Asked when the tests are clouded. Asked when the bank statement is close to negative. Asked when a child is abused. Asked when the cell divides. Asked when a dream dies. Asked when the answer is no. Asked when an earthquake destroys. Asked when a leader falls. Asked when suffering seems inevitable.
Why is like the fat carpenter bee that bore two holes in the sill of my backdoor. It hummed and buzzed furiously as it ate away at the hardwood. I watched as his round body disappeared into his spherical door and the sawdust kicked out behind him and drifted down to the deck. He continued to make the hole deeper and deeper—penetrating into the core and heartwood. Until I stopped him.
I thought about when Jesus would have asked why.
From Sunday to Thursday of this eventful week Jesus walked the steep and winding two-mile trek to Bethany. He traversed down and up the Mount of Olives. Each day before he entered and exited Jerusalem he would pass by the Garden of Gethsemane.
Every day Jesus had a foreshadowing of what awaited him. Jesus’ greatest struggle was coming. His greatest battle was being orchestrated. The enemy was strategizing.
Gethsemane waited. But, he had set his face.
Watch Jesus. Watch him.
He did not ask why. He knew and understood the why of Gethsemane.
The why was and is us.
As he passed by that grove of olive trees each morning, before he entered into the mayhem and chaos of Jerusalem’s demands, instead of asking why I believe he prayed.
“Father, give me strength for the day that is coming. I know your plan and purpose for me. Show me Tamera’s (put your name in place of mine) face this morning.”
And as he passed back by his would be place of suffering each evening, after all the accolades and interrogations, instead of asking why I believe he prayed.
“Father, thank you for today; you are faithful. I know you will provide strength for tomorrow. Thank you for my rest tonight.”
We are finite beings. We cannot see far enough into eternity to not have to ask why. Our perceptions, minds and realities are too narrow and too shallow to dismiss this word from our daily vocabulary. Don’t get me wrong. There’s a place and a time for the why. Why indicates struggle and growth.
But there are places and times we must learn to swat and smack the carpenter bee and have faith.
We must trust the Father’s plan.
We may be walking past our Gethsemane every day. We may be making a hard trek morning and night just to get through and we want to know why.
Why, Lord? Why?
Our greatest struggle may be on its way or have already arrived. Our greatest battle may just be around the next bend in the road or we may be right in the thick of it. The enemy may be laying out his battle plan or it may be in motion.
And we can ask why. Our Father is great enough to handle our whys. But as we walk by our Gethsemane let’s put the why aside.
In the morning when we pass by let’s pray, “Father, give me strength for the day that is coming. Remind me continually today of the plan and purpose you have before me.”
And in the evening pray, “Father, thank you for today; you are faithful. Remind me that you will provide strength for tomorrow. Please give me rest tonight.”
Yes, Gethsemane waits.
But we can ask the Father to prepare us.
There’s another carpenter bee hovering at my back door. I need to go and find my flyswatter.