Don’t ask why, ask how.

Don’t ask why, ask how.
By Pastor Gael Orr
I’m one of those people that try really hard to make lemonade out of life’s proverbial lemons.  My life’s vision is to become the most positive, optimistic non-judgmental person humanly possible.  Some might suggest that I’ve been served the biggest lemon you could get in life, which is losing a child….Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.”
But you know what, I don’t really see the lemon, I just see the opportunities.   Do I have sadness? Yes, of course.  Do I have intense grief at times? Yes, of course.  But I also have been given opportunities to help others that are going through similar situations. I have opportunities to draw even closer to God, and I have opportunities to draw and deepen my relationship with my husband.  I don’t really see a huge lemon; I really see a giant pitcher of cold lemonade, filled with ice, with condensation rolling down the edges and the sunlight streaming through the transparent glass container. I see beautiful yellow slices of plump fresh organic lemons cut up floating inside and I can imagine just how delicious it will taste to enjoy a tall glass of it on a hot summer day.  I’ve learned an extremely important lesson in life that I must share.  I’ve learned to, somehow, be thankful.


1 Thessalonians 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Something that I find people do in their life’s journey is to question God, the Universe, their families, or whomever, “Why me?” or just in general, “Why?”   Now I realize that asking the question ‘why’ when we initially get some bad news is very normal, and perhaps initially healthy.  But questioning ‘why’ long term, can be unconstructive particularly in times when it is impossible for us to get an answer to that question; which, quite often, is most of the time.  I’ve come to learn, that unless we are wondering about scientific ponderings, such as, ‘why chlorophyll makes plants green,’ when it comes to life circumstances, nothing good comes from the question ‘why’ or ‘why me?’

When we ask ‘why,’ we more often than not, find there is no answer to that question.  This ushers in frustration and helplessness.   Often we become more than just victims in our situations, but become victimized.  When we are struggling in life and we ask the question ‘why,’ we are really engaged in self-pity, self-doubt, misdirected anger, and have hit life’s dead-end.    Asking the question ‘why’ is like traveling down a cul-de-sac; it gets us nowhere and keeps us in a place of wallowing self-defeatism and we just keep going in circles, chasing our tail in self-pity.  Self-pity brings us damaging feelings that foster bitterness, negativity, depression, and despair.  It can even damage our faith as we may blame God for what has happened to us.   We may even lose hope that anything better will ever come our way.   So what do we do instead?  I invite you to consider, instead of asking ‘why,’ ask’ how.’

Asking the question ‘how’ can be very motivating, it is positive, and constructive.  Asking ‘how’ is the first step in finding some of the answers we are looking for.  For example, instead of asking ‘why,’ ask “How can I adapt and mature from my situation? How can I learn from my circumstances?  How can I honor my loved one(s) even more? How can I live my life more fully?  How can I draw on God’s strength in my situation?  How can I be more fully present with those I care about?”   I invite you to also consider that instead of blaming God asking, “Why did God do this to me?” to instead say, “How might God have allowed this to happen FOR me?” When we ask the question ‘how’ it is the first step in finding healing in our position.  Asking ‘how’ can put us in the state of gratitude if we allow it to.  We need to remember Romans 8:28 28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  When we get constructive with our negative life circumstances, it puts us in the position to ACT in faith and not just SAY that we are grateful, but to actually BE grateful. ‘How’ questions turn our negative circumstances into positive consequences that enable us to focus on what we can accomplish with our hope and faith. We become demonstrative of those things that we are actually grateful for. In this manner, we can “give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18).”  And when we do so, this ultimately, results in happiness, hopefulness, joyfulness, and peace.   It’s a journey, it takes practice, but eventually you will get there.  So the next time you are being served lemons and you find yourself asking the question ‘why’ remember instead to ask yourself, ‘how.’ “How do I make lemonade out of my situation?” and be thankful for the nice tall refreshing glass.