I’m struck by the oddity of it all. Our Easter Sunday seemed so unconventional. We slept in, enjoyed the Sabbath and anticipated worship under a tent when most were already napping, high heels kicked off at the door. Instead of getting up early and donning our best, I watched the CBS Morning Show in my pajamas while H made pancakes. And I’m asking repeatedly, “Why.”
Why unconventional feels like being stuck when you don’t choose it, edgy when you do. Why we celebrate ten years of holidays and milestones far away from family. Why churches split. I don’t expect God to answer my questions. After all, Easter Sunday, whether under a steeple or a tent, isn’t about meeting my needs.
I used to think my preferences about worship and community didn’t matter. Until they became elusive. The grief of unrequited desire eventually transforms passion to a Sunday function. I’ve traded the exclamation point of fulfillment for a hollow question mark dangling by the threads of my past experience.
Lingering under my comforter, re-reading Wonderstruck, Chapter 002 from my Kindle propped up on my knees; the fragrance of coffee brewing in the kitchen settles me. But I’m suddenly startled when H appears quietly in the doorway and tosses three letters on the mattress next to me. I forgot to collect the mail on Saturday. He remembered it.
I scoop up the letters in the order they slide like a deck of cards fanned out on the sheets, open each one slowly. Savoring this Easter gift on the day our mailbox normally mimics the tomb.
The first one is a hand written note embossed with Margaret. It’s not often you get personal mail from the author of a book you just happen to be reading. But the letter isn’t just from an author; it’s from a friend letting me know she’s praying “for creativity, clarity and courage to follow Jesus.”
The second, a card from my friend Nancy declares, “All things are being made new. All things.I look forward to walking through Wonderstruck with you.” And I’m shocked by the timing of her encouragement.
When I open the third card from my Dad, I’m overcome with wishes for “a season filled with wonder and beauty.” And my mouth is now drawn open but silent.
Because this is what I happened to be reading, the entire page now highlighted on my Kindle:
Sooner or later we all encounter situations that leave us baffled. Whether a single event or a series of circumstances that assault us with shock and awe, we’re left with the unanswerable questions of why? Why me? Why now? Why again? When we ask such questions to the exclusion of all else, we can miss opportunities to encounter God in our midst. Yet the invitation to awaken the wonder all around us remains: even in the affliction, even in loss, even in the pain, God’s presence remains. ~Wonderstruck, Chapter 002
Yes, God’s presence remains. And wonder cracks off the whys.
I ate an extra pancake, savoring unconventional one sticky, syrupy bite at a time. We sauntered off for worship under a glowy mid-day tent of meeting, inhaling the fragrance of Jesus, lost in sacred time. All my questions and sighs lassoed by the peace in a single word.
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know!” (Job 38:4-5) And who brought you the mail on a Sunday, stacked it in the order you would open it, so my message would resonate above your whoa- filled sighs?
Resurrection lives in the Who, not in the answer to your Why. Whether in bed or under a tent, His wonder is always close by. It might just be stacked in your mailbox.
In the most opaque circumstances of life, even when He feels a million miles away, the knowledge of the presence of God allows us to find joy when everything else says we should be crying. ~Margaret Feinberg
In what areas of your life do you sense the Holy Spirit saying, it’s time to start asking Who instead of Why?
Today Duane Scott and I are co-hosting a book club and discussion on Wonderstruck by Margaret Feinberg. Link up your posts on finding the wonder of God in the everyday (they’ll show up on both our sites) and join the discussion in the comments and on our Facebook page throughout the week, Redemptions Beauty Book Club.
BOOK CLUB SCHEDULE
April 10: Chapter 002-003
April 17: Chapter 004-005
April 24: Chapter 006-007
May 1: Chapter 008-009
May 8: Chapter 010-Final Thoughts
Every Monday in April, I’ll be giving away a copy of Wonderstruck to one lucky person who leaves a comment at Living the Story, my column at BibleDude.net.
Linking with Emily for Imperfect Prose and Jennifer for Tell His Story.