We set up our Christmas tree last week and we are finding out that it’s a source of stress and confusion for my mother-in-law. She keeps pointing to it and asking what it is and shaking her head when I explain.
I don’t know why it bothers her. But then there is a lot I don’t know. It reminds me of a question my mom asked me a few years ago.
Mom sat next to me on the love seat, and she looked right at me, and for no apparent reason asked, “How come?”
I couldn’t figure out what she was referring to, or if she even knew herself. But I kept finishing the question for her in my mind, as life swirled and stormed around me…
How come cars keep breaking down and money keeps running out? How come it’s so hard to lose weight, but so easy to lose patience?
How come beloved children battle cancer and teens die in car crashes?
How come beautiful, talented, loved young adults, with their whole lives ahead of them, question if they want to live?
How come terrorists attack innocent people? And why does God allow people to die who were sacrificially trying to help others?
How come people who desperately want children can’t conceive and people who easily conceive don’t want to?
How come people who have lived faithful, godly, unselfish lives end up with Alzheimer’s and blindness?
Around this same time, my daughter Annie went over to help my parents. She found them cuddled on the love seat. Mom said, “We’re not here!”
Annie and I chuckled when she told me about it. But I’m thinking now that sometimes I just want to say that to the world when I feel like escaping all the hard stuff. I just want to pull the shades down and lock the doors and declare, “We’re not here!” We’re taking a break from this crazy, confusing world.
God doesn’t answer all my “how come” questions. And He doesn’t give me permission to hide from the world. But he does say He will be a sanctuary in it.
In Ezekiel chapter eleven, verse 16, God says that even though he has scattered the Israelites among the countries “…yet I shall be a little sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone.”
In a time of confusion and captivity, God said he would be their sanctuary. Webster says sanctuary means “a holy place set aside for worship” or “a place of refuge or protection”.
And so this is where I need to go with all my “how comes”. I need to go to the sanctuary that God is. I need to lay all my questions and problems at His feet and worship Him. And then I need to just sit in His presence—in the sanctuary that He is for His children.
I need to be still and know that He is God. He is my refuge. He is my protection. He can be trusted even when the “how comes” have no apparent answer.
He isn’t taking us out of this challenging world yet, but He’s giving us sanctuary in it. And He is with us always.