Updated: Dec 6, 2018
We all know the feeling of hitting the “Wall of Why.” You may not have known WHY you felt that way. But that's exactly why. You've hit the “Wall of Why.”
The “Wall of Why” is the moment in time where we cannot seem to figure everything out or understand what is going on. Despite all of our efforts to understand or make sense of what is going on, we cannot.
This week, my uncle, an amazing man who I was close with and dearly loved, passed away unexpectedly. By unexpectedly, I mean that he went to bed healthy and well, and passed away in the night. He was only in his 60's and left behind a wonderful wife and family who are devastated without him. His wife had been with him since she was 16 years old. Yes, you read that correctly. Together since age 16!
The normal sadness and grief that often accompanies losing someone you love is being compounded by the continual echo of a question which never seems to be satisfied: WHY? Why did he have to pass away unexpectedly? Why did we have no warning? Why would God allow this?
It's a fair question. It's a reasonable question. But it's a question that, if not appropriately handled, has the potential to trainwreck our peace.
If you are someone who lives with the need to understand things before you will feel peace, listen up!
You may have been waiting for God to move in your life for some time, yet to seemingly no avail. You've followed Him, listened for His voice, and walked in obedience. Yet, the results are not what you expected. Some days, you feel like giving up completely. No, you're not someone who wants to go live like the world, but you wonder if your hope for a breakthrough, change, or victory has been in vain. Perhaps there is something going on in your life that seems so out of the norm, so out of your control, and so out of your comfort zone that you cannot seem to figure out.
If that in any way describes you, you've got to hear what I'm about to say...
Paul, who was an apostle, wrote a letter in the Bible while he was in a very similar situation to yours. In the letter of Philippians, Paul found himself in a very confusing predicament. He had done the right thing, followed God, stood up when others refused to, and suffered great consequences for his faithfulness without backing down or denying what he believed. And yet, after all that, he found himself in a prison cell awaiting (by all appearances) an execution in exchange for his godly efforts.
And it's in the context of such a confusing, uninviting moment that Paul pens these powerful words: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." (Philippians 4:6)
More than likely, you've heard this verse many times before. But I think Paul knows something that we don't. Notice what he says next...
"And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:7)
Did you notice what Paul knows that we don't?
He knows that there are two kinds of peace. Earthly peace and "the peace of God."
This explains why Jesus said the following: "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled; do not be afraid." (John 14:27)
What does He mean?
He means that there actually IS a kind of peace that can be attained by understanding. By figuring things out. By knowing what will happen and planning your day and making a list and doing it your way. There's a certain amount or type of peace that can come with that. That's called earthly peace.
But the peace of God (and the peace that Jesus gives us) is called the peace that "surpasses understanding."
This means that there is a kind of peace available to us that moves past or goes higher or exists altogether separate from UNDERSTANDING WHY or FIGURING THINGS OUT or TRYING TO MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN. There is a peace that PASSES understanding.
How do we gain access to such peace? Well, first of all, when we stop trying to figure everything out. When we stop trying to be God in our life. When we stop trying to be in control. When we stop trying to FULLY UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING.
But there's more.
Solomon (the wisest man who ever lived) wrote in Proverbs 3:5-6: "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."
Did you catch that? How do you have peace that passes understanding? By trusting in the LORD with your HEART instead of RELYING ON WHAT YOU CAN UNDERSTAND WITH YOUR HEAD!
Let me give you an example:
Let's say you are driving on the interstate and get stuck in the right-hand lane behind a big semi truck. (This is a real life scenario which often causes me to lose my peace!)
You have a couple of options:
1) You could end your trip altogether. Pull over to the side of the road. Give up. (That sounds silly since your intention is to get somewhere. But as you will see in a moment, it's an option we often weigh in our minds as a serious choice.)
2) You could stay BEHIND the semi, and probably eventually reach your destination albeit after a LONG, FRUSTRATED trip.
3) You could simply pass the semi in the left-hand lane and leave it behind in the dust.
Now, let me give you the secret that unlocks this parable. Imagine suddenly zooming out of this picture to an aerial view of the semi truck with your car stuck behind it. On top of the semi in BIG BOLD letters is written a single word: UNDERSTANDING.
That's what you are stuck behind. That's what is tripping you up. That is what is making what should be an enjoyable trip into a frustrated, long journey. Yes, you may still get to the same destination or destiny in your life, but will you enjoy the trip? Will you have the kind of peace that God wants you to have?
Real peace...the kind that God gives us...the kind that you long for in your soul...the kind that stays with you permanently is not the same thing as the world would give you. The world would teach you to take control of your life, try to figure everything out, and follow the plan. But that would only give you an earthly, temporary peace. And, it would be conditioned on the fact that you must KEEP UNDERSTANDING to keep your peace.
But God's peace is the kind that PASSES understanding.
***So re-read your options in light of this new information. The best life available to you is not found in trying to figure everything out, but in simple trust of God. It's in choosing the peace that Jesus left you which always passes understanding.
So you still have the choice:
1) Give up. Allow your lack of understanding to steal your peace.
2) Keep chasing understanding for temporary bursts of earthly peace. Try to figure everything out and keep it under your control.
3) Trust God. Allow Him to bring clarity to the areas He desires and trust Him with what remains a mystery. Believe His Word that when you trust Him with your heart instead of trying to figure Him out with your head, He will make your path straight!
I should note that God is not AGAINST understanding. He is just against understanding when it is a roadblock to SIMPLE TRUST in Him. Remember, when you TRUST in Him, He promises to make your path straight- the most direct route and timing which is best for you! So God is not against clarity. 1 Corinthians 14:33 tells us that "God is not the god of confusion but peace." He does not try to bring confusion into your life.
But He refuses to leave us operating in a model of peace which is solely dependent on our ability to figure everything out.
Here's the bottom line truth:
"No one can fathom the depths of His understanding." Isaiah 40:28
You could never fully figure out God. It's not just improbable, it's impossible. You could never solve the puzzle of everything going on in the world, let alone your life. You simply CAN NOT. You do not have the CAPACITY.
But do you know what you do have the capacity for? SIMPLE TRUST.
That, my friends, is a choice we make. It comes in answer to the following question:
WILL I CHOOSE TO TRUST IN A GOD WHO I CANNOT FULLY UNDERSTAND?
When you do, you will experience the kind of peace that is afforded only by trust. God's peace. The peace of Jesus.
Remember what His Word says. Peace isn't found through our circumstances, control, or understanding. Peace is found through a PERSON, and His name is Jesus Christ.
"He Himself is our Peace." Ephesians 2:14
Will you choose to trust Him today?