Joni Eareckson Tada said that the question she now asks of God is no longer why, but how?
I have to admit there are days when I still ask: "why?"
I ask why when I see God's redemption in the lives of Ethan's friends who walked where he walked. Those who made the same choices he made. They are now married, celebrating their children, and working in chosen careers.
Yes. My heart still whispers, "why?"
Why not Ethan?
I ask why, when I read about those who were blind one minute and could see the next. Or when I read about the one who couldn't walk and then, because of Jesus, runs down the street on strong healthy legs.
I ask why when I read that nothing is impossible with God and I see the world He holds in place, and I just know all the way down to my bones that He could make Ethan walk. All He would have to do is think it, and Ethan would stand. He would walk, and he would run.
Yes. I still ask why.
But like Joni, I now mostly ask how.
Looking back, I ask how have we done it?
How have we gone on?
How have we carried the hurt and disappointment for almost ten years?
How have we managed 24 hours a day? Day after day? Week after week? Month after month? And year after year?
How have we been able to look forward to another day, when it seems the morning sun just shines on another mountain that needs to be climbed?
How have we laughed until we've cried?
And then there's the looking forward and well, there are just too many "hows" to name.
Hows that take my breath away.
Hows that take me to my knees and make me tremble.
Hows that have the power to paralyze me with fear and steal every bit of life out of me.
Hows that build walls and keep me from loving and reaching out to others.
Hows that come from nowhere like a rogue tidal wave, that pin me down and fill my lungs with fear and anxiety and hopelessness.
In Ann Lamott's book, Bird By Bird: Some Instructions On Writing And Life, she shares advice that she claims to be some of the best she's ever received on writing, or on life:
"Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way." E. L. Doctorow
Lamott comments: "You don't have to see where you're going, you don't have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you."
I realize that is how we have made it, and how we are going to make it.
Trusting God with one day at a time and sometimes, trusting Him one hour at a time.
He shines enough light on our path to keep us going. Going with hope and encouragement and strength.
If we look too far ahead we become overwhelmed with the darkness and uncertainty that lies ahead.
I'd much rather travel during the day, where I can see the road signs telling me where I am on my journey. I want to see the signs that tell of possible dangers and, most of all, I want to see the signs that tell me there's a rest stop up ahead where things will get easier, and where we can all take a break.
And honestly, there are days when I'd like an exit ramp where I can just get off and quit the journey altogether. Thankfully those days are seldom.
I want to Google a map of my life with everything laid out between point A and point B. But that's not going to happen.
That's not life.
We walk along the path He lights for us. Sometimes, it does seem to be like the headlights of a car shining on a dark road, only showing a few feet ahead. But moving forward those few feet, time after time, will get us to our destination.
A destination He has prepared for us. One that He alone has the Power and the Abundance and the Grace to get us to.
That's How we have made it this far.
And He is the only way we will make it today and every tomorrow.
"I'll take the hand of those who don't know the way, who can't see where they're going.
I'll be a personal guide to them, directing them through unknown country.
I'll be right there to show them what road to take, make sure they don't fall into the ditch.
These are the things I'll be doing for them-sticking with them, not leaving them for a minute."
Isaiah 42:16 The Message