vsOh those prayers prayed during the first many hours of our drive away as my mother-in-law lay silently in the surgeon’s hands. How many times I prayed with my daughter, my driving companion, for the surgeon’s hands to be an extension of God’s hands, for his eyes to see through God’s eyes.

Those hours were long and the intensity grew with unanswered questions. Why? Don’t we all want to know why?

Why did I suffer abuse?

Why did finances fail?

Why did the marriage fall apart?

Why didn’t I get the promotion when I’m the most qualified?

Why can’t my family be like that family?

So often our why starts with a comparison instead of contemplative prayer.

Too often our why ends before our hearts are ready to ask, “How?”

Hardship and trouble are guaranteed in this life, straight from Jesus’ lips, but it doesn’t stop there. When we choose to rephrase our genuinely painful why into a surrendered how can I bring you glory our world shifts.

The monotonous vibration of the road and the subtle correction of the steering wheel were ordinary but the regular prayer being offered tilted my heart towards an unseen peace. The prayers mirrored the prayer my kids and I prayed as we drove to the scene of my father’s death. A similar prayer to my sister-in-law’s family when her dad suffered and died from cancer: Not my will by Your will be done.

Superficially we prayer this, ignoring the deeper meaning and cost. God’s will doesn’t look like ours and doesn’t manifest itself in ways singularly within the frame of our framework. When we ask for God’s will we invite the unexpected, the unwanted in the world’s opinion. I’ve yet to encounter one of those moments I regret. My decisions haven’t always been perfect and wise, but I look back on the hard chapters of life, the moments I chose to surrender to God and I’m grateful for what God did in my heart.

Surly you are suffering today, that’s part of living in this fallen world. Will you continue to ask why? or will you rise up and ask how?

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