"So Why, What's The Purpose?"
by Lorraine Ezell
There are certain things are a characteristic in the human nature; these things are characteristic in all of us. One of those characteristics is the need to always know "why?" Why did this happen?; why did that happen?; why doesn't this or why doesn't that? We search and search for the answer to our "whys" and don't seem to ever be satisfied until we find it (or at least find an answer that will pacify us). We are born with this characteristic; it is seen manifesting in us at an early age. (If you have ever had children you know exactly what I am talking about.) They corner the market on... "why?" Sometimes you wonder if their vocabulary will ever advance from two words- "why" and "no". When they ask you a question and you explain it to them, without fail, they will always respond with, "but why?" So we proceed to elaborate; they again respond, "but why?" Sometimes it seems endless. After a while you don't know what else to say- you've answered the "why" a dozen times and they still aren't satisfied they have their answer. As I mentioned earlier- this is not confined to children; it's in all of us- mankind just always feels the need to have an explanation for everything.
We feel that everything that happens has to be explained. We don't believe that things "just happen"- there has to be a reason for it, or a purpose behind it. Asking the question "why" helps us find the reason- purpose. "Why did I go through that?" "Why is this happening?" If we can answer the question "why", then we can discover the reason/purpose behind it. Having the answer- knowing why- seems to put our mind at ease and give us some sort of peace and sense of security. It doesn't make what happens seem so needless and meaningless.
The need to know "why" is not new to this generation; it's been in mankind since the beginning. We see that even Jesus' disciples had the need to know why certain things happened. "And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?" (John 9:1,2) The disciples were asking the question "why"- why was this man born blind? They felt that there must be a reason behind his blindness, so they asked Jesus "why". Why is he blind? If they could get the answer to "why" then they could discover the reason. They decided the reason for his blindness had to be from sin in his own life or sin in his parent's lives. What was Jesus' answer to their "why" question? "Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him." (verse 3) He gave them an unexpected answer- they expected Him to point out the guilty party. Let me interject something here (off of the subject we are discussing). When we ask the Lord our "why" questions, He won't always give us the answer we expect. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8,9) This is why we can't lean to our own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5) We can't already have the answer figured out or think we know what He is going to say. The disciples thought they knew what answer Jesus was going to give them- that's why they threw "did he sin or his parents" into their question. We are just like them, we think we have the answer before we even ask the question, then the Lord throws us a "curve ball" by telling us something else- something we never expected. This just proves we aren't as smart as we think we are; so we need to leave the answers to Him. Also, when we ask "why", we're wanting a "cut and dry" answer, but He doesn't usually give it to us. Remember when John the Baptist was in prison and he sent his disciples to ask Jesus if He was the Messiah or should they look for another one? What was Jesus' answer to John's question? "Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me." (Matthew 11:2-6) John expected Jesus to tell him either- "yes, I am the Messiah", or "no, I'm not Him". But He didn't. Even when Jesus was standing before Pilate and Pilate asked Him if He was the King of the Jews, Jesus answer was, "And Pilate asked him, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answering said unto them, Thou sayest it." (Mark 15:2) A simple "yes" or "no" would have been good, but that was not His reply. When you ask the Lord about something, you need to understand that He will not always answer the way you expect Him to answer. But listen because He is answering. Don't be like our little children who continue to ask "but why?" after you have already answered them.
I want to get into the heart of this message and explain where I have been going with what I've said. A few months ago my daughter was in a vehicle accident. My niece called me around 11:30 that night to tell me about the accident and that my daughter was being taken to the hospital. I immediately went to the hospital and waited for the ambulance to arrive. After it got there my daughter was taken to a treatment room, the doctor saw her, then she was taken to the x-ray department. Around five o'clock in the morning, she was taken back to the emergency room and we received the reports from the tests and x-rays. They discovered that she had a ruptured spleen. The next step was to call in the surgeon. After the surgeon arrived and told us that the spleen would need to be removed, we asked about other options. He told us that there was a chance that it might seal itself off and she wouldn't need the surgery. We opted to go this route. At this point she was moved to the Intensive Care Unit. For the first time that night- it was about 6:30 the next morning- I was asked to wait away from her while they moved her to ICU. The nurse directed me to a waiting area for me to stay in until they came and got me. When I went in the waiting room, there were a couple of ladies in there asleep- one in the chair and another stretched out on a chair that made into a bed. I could only see the top of the head of the person who was stretched out. I thought it looked like a lady that I had ministered to at the Recovery Center a couple of months earlier. This lady had been on my heart, I had been praying for her, wanted to contact her but didn't know how. When the nurse came into the waiting room to get me and take me back to my daughter, she called my name which caused the lady who was sleeping to look up. Guess what? It was her- the lady from the Recovery Center. She was so shocked to see me and I was glad to see her. She wanted to talk- she had been thinking about me too and needed prayer. We couldn't talk right then because I had to go be with my daughter. But as I left the room, the thought immediately went through my mind--- "Well, praise God, this is why this has happened; so I could see this lady. The Lord worked it out so that we could meet because I have been needing to see her and see has been needing to see me." No sooner than I had the thought, my next thought was-- "Wait a minute! God didn't do this. He didn't allow this "terrible" thing to happen to my daughter just so this lady and I could meet. God could have allowed us to meet in the grocery store; He could have let me find a phone number for her; He could have even told me where she lived. (He told Ananias exactly where to find Saul so that he could pray for Saul to get his sight back. (Acts 9) God hasn't changed- He's the same today as yesterday; if He told Ananias, He could tell me. After all, He knows where she lives.) Over the next few days (my daughter was in the hospital a total of six days) I kept seeing the hand of the Lord move. I even had an opportunity to witness to one of her friends and he gave his heart to the Lord. I was sitting beside her bed one day reflecting on the things that had happened- like meeting up with this lady; helping this guy come back to the Lord; witnessing to some others; etc.- in my thoughts I was trying to "figure out" "why?" What was the purpose for her having the accident? Was it just so I could meet these people, was it so that God could deal with her or her friends through it, was it to show how great He was and could protect my daughter, or was it to show us that He answers our prayers?
We (Christians) are the world's worst at wanting to find God's purpose in the things that we go through. We want to know the purpose behind everything that we go through (mostly because we don't want to miss what God may be doing in our lives). We think that everything that happens is orchestrated by God in order to teach us some lesson. I was trying to find the reason/purpose behind the accident. We always want to know "why" and so every little thing we see in the situation causes us to "conclude" that this must be why. As I sat in the hospital room contemplating all the events of the last few days and trying to draw some sort of conclusion as to what the purpose was, the Lord spoke to me and told me, "The purpose was that the devil goes about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. He has come to steal, kill, and destroy." So many times we "write everything off" as God- "God is trying to teach me something. He is trying to show me something. He is trying to work something out in me." This is not always the case. God does want to show us things, He does want to teach us lessons, He does want us to grow and bear fruit that is representative of who He is, and the route to get there is sometimes hard and difficult. But we have developed a mentality that thinks everything that happens to us is God and He is doing it to either get something to us or cause some change to take place in us.
Let's look back at the disciples and Jesus again. "And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him." (John 9:2,3) Sadly, most Christians take Jesus' answer and draw a wrong conclusion from it. "Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him." They think that it means God made this man blind so that He would have an opportunity to show how great and powerful He is and can open blind eyes. So, therefore, when something happens to them, they automatically have this mindset that says, "God did this to me so that He can get some glory out of it." Jesus never said that God put the blindness on the man. He just said that because this man was blind it was a good opportunity for God to manifest His power and loving kindness by healing his eyes, and in doing so He would be glorified. If God had put this blindness on the man, then to take it off would have meant He was going against His own work. He would have been like a house divided against itself. "And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand." (Mark 3:25) In Luke 13:16, Jesus makes it plain who brings sickness and affliction upon people. "And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?" This lady had a spirit of infirmity and was bowed over. Who did this to her? Satan. Who healed her? Jesus
When the Lord spoke that to me in my daughter's room, He also said this, "The purpose is that the devil goes about to steal, kill, and destroy. We live in a world that is under the curse of sin, so bad things happen. But the reason that you see the hand of God moving even in this bad situation, is not because God did it, but because God will never let the devil get the upper hand in the situation." This is why, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28) It didn't say that everything that came our way was good, it said that all things work together for good- even bad things that the devil brings into our lives to steal, kill, and destroy us with- work together for our good because God will never let the devil get the upper hand. God will bring good out of it some how. And He doesn't have to cause it in order to bring good from it.
In the above are two areas we need to change our mindset. First- is in the area of believing that God put this "bad" thing on me so that He can get some glory out of it. When we believe this way we get comfortable and settled in our situation because we don't want to go against God's will. We won't rebuke the devour because we believe it is God so we need to go through it. We won't pray prayers of faith for healing because we are afraid we are praying against the will of God. We feel like this is our cross to bear so we endure it when all along it's the enemy deceiving us to keep us from taking our God-given authority over him. If the devil could make me think that this situation was all part of God's purpose in my life, my daughter's life, or some one else's then I won't do anything to stop his destructive hand. I won't rebuke him, I won't pray against him, I won't stand in faith upon the promises of God, I won't draw my sword out at him, nothing, I'll just sit back and "roll with the punches". The purpose, or reason, (as in my daughter's case) was not so that He could use this situation in my life to help me grow in faith, to teach me how to trust Him more, to get my daughter or her friends on the right path, to open someone's eyes to see how fragile life is and that we need to show each other more love. The purpose was that the devil was trying to kill my daughter and those who were in the vehicle with her.
The second area we need to change our mindset in is: So why did I see these "good things" happen?... if they weren't the purpose; if this wasn't God's will. It's like I said, "God never allows the devil to get the upper hand or be in control." While the devil is over there trying to destroy, God is over here bringing good out of what the devil meant for evil This is the reason why I wound up meeting this lady I had been wanting to see, this is why I witnessed to these friends. God didn't "cause it" so He could bring good out of it. I can picture God saying, "Go ahead, devil, you think you are going to destroy them, every time you throw something bad their way, I am going to turn it into something good. You will never win." God takes advantage of a bad situation to show His goodness in it. This is what happened to Job. The devil thought he was going to destroy Job but God proved He was still in control and everything bad that he did to Job, God turned it into something good. "And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord. So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. He had also seven sons and three daughters." (Job 1:12; 42:12,13)
"No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord." (Isaiah 54:17) The devil forms weapons against you. They may be weapons of sickness, disease, death, poverty, weapons to make you bitter, fearful, jealous, the list goes on and on. But even though he forms his weapons of destruction, God will never let him win, he will never get the upper hand because everything that he does to destroy, God turns around for good and will even turn it into a blessing in the long run.