James 1:17 – Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. (NKJV)
I am now the proud owner of a rocket stove: a high-efficiency, wood-burning, outdoor cooking stove designed to be used for camping or emergencies. I never really wanted a rocket stove. In fact, I had never even heard of one.
The day started out innocently enough. A friend and I attended a class on outdoor cooking methods. They held a drawing for a free rocket stove, and all thirty of us entered.
In all my life, I’ve won two drawings: a fake flower arrangement and duck eggs. I figured that I wasn’t at risk of winning the rocket stove.
I — the only person there who didn’t want the rocket stove — won the rocket stove.
It was one of those moments when I found myself asking, “Why?” “Why me? I didn’t want this.” “Why this? This isn’t what I’ve been asking for.” “Why now? I have no idea what I’m going to do with this.” For some reason, I was supposed to win the rocket stove, and I have no idea why.
Often life is this baffling. We have something in mind when we pray, and God answers differently. We have expectations about life, and God orchestrates life opposite to those expectations. There are things we don’t really want out of life. God chooses those things for us, and we wonder why. Why me? Why this? Why now?
We busy ourselves with the whys, because life doesn’t always go as planned.
Despite my whys, I have decided that I’m going to learn how to use my rocket stove. It’s a gift — something I was supposed to have, something I’m supposed to enjoy, something I would have wanted if I had known how nice it would be to have one.
And life is the same way.
I may never know why God answers certain ways, why He gives or allows certain things, or why He chooses the timing He chooses.
I’ll never know why He even cares about my little life, but He does.
That’s reason enough to accept all He chooses — the wanted and the unwanted.
When I use my rocket stove for the first time, I will discover why all those people wanted one. And if I had God’s perspective on my life, I’d choose everything He’s choosing for me — because life isn’t a drop-your-name-in-a-basket-and-risk-it type of existence.
Life is our name written on hands that are loving, wise, and good — the hands of One Who knows how to turn all the whys into wanted gifts.
Prayer: Father, we praise You that You are wise. You care about our lives, and You choose gifts that we never knew we wanted. Help us to trust You in the midst of our whys, knowing that our whys are not baffling to You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Portland, Oregon, USA