You May Not Have an Answer, but You Always Have a Song

There comes a time when it’s time to stop trying to understand God.

Two years ago, Michael and I drove into Italy to celebrate my birthday (I was visiting him in Germany) and as we sped along the Autobahn we started talking about a hard situation that still weighed on me. I didn’t understand how a loving God could allow such heartache. I’d been asking God why for years-“why me? why did you allow this to happen?”-never feeling totally assured in His response. As I gazed at the blurred landscape around me, I realized something monumental. I needed to change my question. Instead of “why?”, I needed to start asking “how?”. How will I glorify God despite misunderstanding His reasons?

“Why” questions are always permitted, but if you’ve asked God for years “why” He acts the way He does-it might be time to start asking “how”? How can I glorify you in this season, God?

We may never know why God acts the way He does. Why He chooses to give some spouses and leave others single for years. You will probably never know why your dad left or why the people you loved most abandoned you. You may have endured abuse at a very young age. Perhaps you are sick of following God because it seems like He blesses everyone around you and has forgotten you completely.

One of the hardest lessons I’m still learning in my relationship with God is to praise Him in the valleys. To start asking “how” and stop asking “why”.  When life doesn’t go according to my plans and doesn’t make sense—to praise Him. When I am filled with disappointment—sing of His mercy. When pain seems to surround me at every turn—praise Him for redeeming my soul.

God chose you. He gave us a way out of eternal suffering when Romans says we were His enemies. We can live with hope, because whatever we experience is not the end. He is a good Dad and is never out to punish us. There is always a reason to choose joy. You may think circumstances show God couldn’t possibly love you, but the Cross speaks the opposite.

If you look at the Cross, His love will never fail you.  

“A bird doesn’t sing because he has an answer. A bird sings because he has a song.” Maya Angelou

You may not have an answer to your circumstances, but you always have a reason to sing.

How will you glorify Him in your singleness? In your disappointment? In your misunderstanding? In your heartache?

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16 Responses to “You May Not Have an Answer, but You Always Have a Song”
  1. Edward Lin says:

    Psalm 42 has always been one of my favourite passages in those moments. Beyond the thirsty deer imagery, the psalmist deals with tremendous turmoil and constantly reminds himself to hope in God. It is a beautiful picture of a suffering saint frantically preaching the gospel to himself in his moment of deepest suffering – even when he feels abandoned by God (v9-10).

  2. L says:

    Thankyou for this. I have a big ‘why’ in my life that messes up my relationship with God and other people. I so want to move past this and into the ‘how’.

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Yes, whatever your “why” is-it’s often best to stop asking and start asking God HOW you can glorify Him despite your unanswered questions. The focus is shifted from often a victim mentality to a triumphant one. I’m definitely not suggesting ignoring the past, but set aside time to deal with pain/hurt/etc. but start asking how God wants to use you to further His Kingdom in the midst of your less-than-ideal circumstances. Thoughts?

  3. Danelle says:

    I love the quote by C.J. Mahaney that says, “Thankfulness is a soil where discontent does not easily take root.” I think that applies here. Thank you for the wonderful reminder/Biblical perspective! Happy weekend, friend!

  4. Choosing to love and trust God, inspite current pain or disappointment , deepens our faith.

    We grow strong, develop muscle and the next time our life is on a bender, we find our reactions/responses a little better than last.

    I just went through some disappointments this week..and it felt easier to ask “why?” and “what now!”, than quietly trust God. Love the quote “if you look at the cross, His love will never fail you”. That’s what I did (not a perfectly, lol).

    Thanks for the post. Awesome thoughts.

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      It is challenging, isn’t it? It was easy for me to write this post in hindsight-because right now I’m not experiencing strong disappointment or hardship. I pray next time pain comes, I will better know how to ask God how I can glorify Him through the trial. Thanks for commenting!!

  5. Ashley M. says:

    This is a really great article – I feel like someone read my journal and wrote about it!! Very timely and encouraging words as I continue to praise Him in my valley/wilderness and BELIEVE that He will lead me into my Promised Land. Absolutely loved the quote by Maya Angelou – that’s a keeper. Thanks so much for letting the Father speak through you. God bless you!

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Thanks, Ashley! I promise I am not reading your journal:) Please pass the post (and my blog) along to anyone else you think might benefit. Happy weekend!

      • Ashley M. says:

        =) It was encouraging to see God speak directly to the season I’m in – I posted this article to my facebook and sent an e-mail to several I know would be encouraged too! Thanks again!


  7. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful! And you write well!

Check out what others are saying…
  1. Ruthie Dean says:

    […] Questions we’ve both been asking: Why God? Why are you allowing this suffering? Are you punishing us? Did we do something wrong? Will you heal Michael? What is your will for this illness? Is this a test? And a question we’ve both recently learned:  ”How can we glorify you in the midst of this?” It’s not coincidental that I recently wrote about asking how not why.  […]

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