14 Years Later and I Still Only Know One Thing For Sure

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“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for the those who love him- but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.”

I read this verse this morning and immediately thought of words I heard last night at church.

“Sensing God’s presence is more about receiving his revelation than getting an explanation.”

When the “whys” keep us stuck and sick

“God wants us to be healed, not informed…more than the answer to the ultimate ‘why’ question, God wants us to know the answer to the ultimate ‘who’ question.” Randy Newman, Questioning Evangelism

I read this book and that above quote a few years after surrendering an addiction I had to alcohol (fourteen years ago this November).  I had come to terms with and even acknowledged my tendency to drink too much several months before I actually surrendered the problem. These were the two main road blocks that kept me from experiencing healing in this area of my life 1) A need for an explanation from God.  2) A heart that lacked the desire to change.

Lord, why can’t I be content with just one or two drinks?  Lord, why can’t I just be normal?  God, why don’t you teach me how to drink like a normal person.  After all…you’re God! You can do that! 

Probably one of the best decisions I made in this season of whys was to choose to keep coming back to God.  For a decade, the questions and the pain of life had prompted me to run away or try to hide from Him instead.  Yet, my life started to change when I decided to stick around, talk things out, and listen for a response.

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Today is September 11. This memory of my personal journey toward surrendering in the midst of all the questions seems to rise up again every year on this date.  I know most of us can remember exactly where we were or what we were doing that Tuesday morning in 2001.  I remember too. I also remember the days following the attacks. The whole world was numb, paralyzed by “why.”  On the first Sunday morning following the attacks, I went to church. When the worship band started playing, the tears I was crying on the inside came pouring down my face, uncontrollably. I quickly made my way outside and crouched down in the field next to the parking lot to sob. I remember a young lady (a lady I knew only briefly) coming to my side and wrapping her arms around me. She assumed I was crying over the horrific attacks from a few days earlier…and I was…but there was more.  It was everything. That morning, I shared with this lady that just a couple of days earlier, I had (willingly and with the assistance of alcohol) done something dangerously stupid.  It was the kind of stupid and the kind of unwise decision that you often discover has led up to those stories you see on the five o’clock news.  Missing lady found: her beaten, naked body was located…

That Sunday morning following 9/11, I grieved over all of it.  I cried because my own stupid actions could have ended my life. I cried because all they did was get on an airplane.  I cried because all they did was get up and go to work one Tuesday morning in September. I cried because, this was the beginning of the end for me. My last drink was still 70 days away…but that moment was a necessary part of my journey towards letting go completely. On that day, I didn’t receive any answers for all of my why questions (and 14 years later I still haven’t) but I did receive one thing. I did begin to wrap my heart around one thing for sure: I desperately needed a Savior. The whole screwed up world desperately needed a Savior…a Savior from our own stupid choices and a Savior from the evil choices inflicted on us by others.

Nowadays, I don’t linger too long on the “why” questions.  Instead, I try to stay focused on the One who has promised to walk with me through them all…because the Who is infinitely bigger than the Why.

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