In his book, The Problem of Pain, C.S. Lewis says that pain plays an important role in the development of human character. Pain may lead someone to repent, but it also may lead them to bitterness. Hell exists for those who won’t repent no matter how great the pain. Simply stated, in hell God makes room for those who are not interested in Him.
Which leads to The Problem of Why.
In my own life, I was least interested in God when I asked “why?” the most. I kept asking why and wasn’t getting any good answers:
- Why did this happen to me?
- Why did “so-and-so” hurt me?
- Why can’t I do this?
- Why can’t I have that?
Any expert of problem resolution knows the “5 Whys” technique. You can get to the root cause of any problem by asking why up to five times. The technique doesn’t work with worldly pain.
The other morning, I had a conversation with my 12-year old daughter on her way out the door to school. It was 19°F, yet she was wearing a short-sleeve shirt and no jacket.
I said to her, “You need a jacket. It’s only 19° outside.“
“Why?,” she asked.
“Because it’s too cold to only wear short-sleeves.,” I answered stating the obvious (to me).
“Why?,” she asked again.
“Because it’s also going to snow today.,” I added.
“Daaaaad, why? I’m only going to be outside for a few minutes. From the car to the bus, from the bus to the school.,” she argued.
“Jarah, just put on a jacket. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter why. Just do what I say.,” I said sternly.
That conversation reminded me of many I had with God in the past. Until I stopped asking why, I wanted answers from Him about the pain and disappointment in my life. It was only when I stopped asking that I became interested in what He had to say. That’s when I learned about vulnerability-based trust.
Vulnerability-based trust is the foundation of strong relationships. Whether it’s a team of 2 or team of 11, it’s the key ingredient on which cohesive, high-performing teams are built. I allowed myself to be transformed when I allowed myself to be vulnerable to God. Now my spirit and His spirit are a cohesive team of 2.
Encountering God is similar to encountering another person. I don’t seek an experience with that person. Rather, I seek to know him or her by spending time with them, and I gain an experience as a result. I don’t seek to hear their voice. I simply engage in conversation as an act of wanting to know them and hear their voice as a result. The only thing that is different about seeking God is that he is Spirit, not flesh. Spend time with His Spirit and gain experiences as a result. Engage in conversation with His Spirit and hear His voice as a result.
What does vulnerability look like during an encounter? It’s acknowledging you’re human and not perfect. Humble recognition of this fact opens the door to personal honesty, confession, forgiveness and the Fruit of the Spirt in relationships (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness and Self-Control).
Vulnerability-based trust with God is the launch pad to living a life beyond mediocrity, to living an excellent life worthy of your calling. In Ephesians 4:1 we are told to “live up to the life to which God called you.”
Vulnerability-based trust with people is the stuff great teams are made of. Learn it. Live it.
Stop asking why. Forgive yourself. Forgive others. Let go of the past and your pain. Drive forward with a vulnerability-based trust in God and your teammates.