When We Don’t Understand

“But why?” I said with a distinct whine in my voice.

This was a commonplace phrase from my childhood. Being the youngest of four and the only girl, I was often left out or left behind. I detested it.

It didn’t matter that the boys were playing full contact football, or that one brother could pitch over a 90 mph baseball. I didn’t see the issue. Didn’t my parents know it was unfair to make me sit out?

I wouldn’t get hurt, I reasoned. I could handle the rough play. My mother wasn’t swayed, though, so I had to sneak my way into my brother’s games. And every time it happened. I got hurt, and ended up crying. My brother’s always got in trouble. They finally ended up not playing around me at all, and I was more left out than before. Like I was missing out on all the fun.

This resentment followed me into adulthood, at least until I had my own kids. When you’re sitting on the other end of the issue it’s much easier to see the big picture. The first time I had to hold one of my sons back from playing with someone because I knew it he was out of his league, I had to smile at his pout and stomp of feet.

I knew his pain. I understood the hurt at being left out and being “denied something fun.” I also knew there were more important things than being included in one game. So I wasn’t surprised when I got the whining question that echoed my childhood, ‘But why can’t I–?’

As adults we still do this. We whine and pout when something doesn’t go like we wanted it to. When we don’t get to do or be something we desired. “But, why?”

I can almost imagine God chuckling at us like my mom did with me and I did with my son.

Proverbs 15:9

Proverbs 15:9 tells us, “The mind of man plans his way. But the Lord directs his steps” (NAS). We often think we know what’s best. If God would just see fit to do (whatever), we could handle it we reason. We refuse to see the harm in something we see as a good thing. But is it?

Isaiah 55:8-9 informs us, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways…For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts your thoughts” (NAS).

Isaiah 55:8-9

We see the here and now. God sees the eternal. We feel left out now. God wants us with Him forever.

Aren’t you glad God isn’t swayed with our foot-stomping meltdowns?


Let’s talk about this! You may have heard the phrase, “Often we see best through our rearview mirror.” Can you share a time when God told you no, and though you didn’t understand at the time but later realized He was protecting you, or perhaps growing you, or maybe leading in a direction that was for your best? Join us over on Facebook and share your thoughts, examples, and stories with us, because we can all learn from and encourage one another!