“Why don’t You ANSWER????”

The question erupted, into the silence of my car, where I drove, alone, desperately trying to find the building where the memorial service was about to begin. My precious friend had just buried her son, and I wanted to be there for her, with her, and instead I was lost and pounding my steering wheel asking God to please just answer, just this once, PLEASE. 

See, in an attempt to save money, we’d switched cell phone companies, only to discover that my phone didn’t switch over, so I was left without data service. I could make phone calls (remember when that’s all phones did?), but no navigation, texting, etc.

You don’t realize how much you rely on data until you don’t have it. What was the norm for me five years ago is now intolerable. I had printed out directions before I left home, but I’d plugged in the wrong address and was now left, alone and clueless, swerving down side-streets and praying that God would please show me where to go. At one point I pulled up beside a woman walking her dog, only to discover that my passenger’s side window would not roll down. So instead of directions I got a blank stare from a woman wondering why on earth I was wildly gesticulating while driving but not rolling my window down.  Gah! FOR THE LOVE! 

I finally made it to the memorial, and thought I was ok. My amazing friend was steadfast, immovable, anchored in hope and preaching the gospel powerfully. It was an amazing ceremony trumpeting the goodness of God no matter what.

But while my friend was stable, steadfast, strong, even as she lost her own dear child, I was an absolute wreck. As soon as the closing song ended, I darted out to my car, head down, afraid to look up lest I saw someone I knew. Jeff walked quietly beside, as he’d driven separately and didn’t know what was up. As soon as we got in the car, I came unglued.

“What kind of God DOES THIS to His people??” There. I’d said it. We had prayed, fasted, sought the Lord for five years straight, and then …

“Why this cruelty? Why doesn’t He ANSWER????”

I sobbed, shaking, reeling, my fist pounding on the steering wheel, my head swimming with pain, tears streaming down my face, onto my shirt. Jeff listened. I’ve never experienced anything like this in my life. Neat-and-tidy sadness gone, instead: wild sorrow unleashed, feeling like my entire being would break in two.

I was driving straight from there to a speaking event, so I dried my tears, reapplied mascara, and headed south, wondering how on earth to speak about hope when I felt none. Of course, God provided, and we gazed at God’s Word together.

But I still left disoriented, and as I drove off into the darkness, I realized I had forgotten to print off driving directions to get home. It’d be a nearly 2-hour drive, all back roads, and although I’d gone that route many times before, there were a few turns I couldn’t quite remember. I thought it would all be familiar once I got there and I’d be able to figure it out.

I thought wrong.

One wrong turn turned into ten and before I knew it I was turned around, headed straight south instead of north. I prayed again over my phone, willing it to work, but it wouldn’t. So I called Jeff, and in utter exhaustion, asked him to please help, as I squinted to see road signs to make sense of where I was.

He was calm, of course, and gentle. He began to direct my path but I turned too soon and found myself headed into oncoming traffic, going the wrong way on a one-way. Another few turns and Jeff was able to tell me what to do, but I quickly protested.

“No, this isn’t the way I usually go. This isn’t familiar. I just want you to get me to the road I’m used to.”

He listened patiently, but he refused to let my panic persuade him. Calmly and clearly, he corrected me:

“No, this route isn’t going to be familiar to you, but it is to me. I will get you through.” 

I heard him, and heard Him.

So clearly, the Father’s heart came through Jeff’s voice.

“This route isn’t going to be familiar to you, but it is to Me. I will get you through.” 

I protest this path. Wildly.

I am lost. It is dark. I’ve taken wrong turns and wound up going the wrong direction. I cry out like a child, stamping my foot and pounding my fist on the dash:

God, I just want You to get me to the road I’m used to.

I don’t like this dark, unfamiliar road.

But the TRUTH is, it’s not unfamiliar to Him.

He holds a map I cannot see. 

His ways are not my ways. His view is higher than mine.

And I can kick and scream and demand my way. I can insist that I navigate, that I call the shots …

…that I be God.

Or I can humble myself and acknowledge the truth, the way things really are, which is that God is good all the time and He works all things for our good. He doesn’t will all the crazy evil sorrow that we face, but He works it, and He will navigate us Home, safely.

We can trust Him.

In case you’re there too, in some way or another, and you are driving blindly in the dark, darting to and fro, wondering which way to go, tears blurring your vision because you cannot see straight. I pray you have the presence of mind to LISTEN to His voice when he says,

“This route isn’t going to be familiar to you, but it is to Me. I will get you through.” 

Truth for us this week. Thanks for reading. 

  • Paul Hunter

    Thanks for the post Kari. I shared it with our daughter Rebecca who has been pursuing the medical profession only to find a journey that has been unfamiliar to her/us. What peace envelopes us as we rest in the assurance that our route is familiar to Him and He will be our constant companion.

  • Sarah

    Yes, I have been here a lot recently. Just met with a friend yesterday who echoed a lot of these truths you just wrote about here. God has been using you a lot recently in my life. Thanks for doing what you do.

  • Sara Prince

    Thank you, I faced a scary surgery in August, and am getting ready to go back into surgery next week. I’m grateful for the reminders in your article. He is holding the map, He knows the way, and He will lead me (and the surgeon, who is a Christian) safely through.

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