‘Why do you pray?’ he asked.
‘Why do I pray? Well, why did I live? Why did I breathe?’
Every question possessed a power that was lost in the answer…
‘Man comes close to God through the questions he asks Him,’ he liked to say.
Therein lies the true dialogue.
Man asks and God replies.
But we don’t understand his replies.
We cannot understand them. Because they dwell in the
depths of our souls and remain there until we die.
The real answers, Eliezer, you will find within yourself.’
‘And why do you pray, Moishe?’ I asked.
‘I pray to the God within me for strength
to ask the real questions.'”
-Elie Wiesel to his mentor, Moishe the Beadle in Night
Asking Why is a Gateway Question
Asking why is a surface level question that often leads to deeper truths. I think of this as a gateway question.
As I sat waiting for my doctor to come explain this Ach-a-lasia thing to me, I took the time to revise a few thoughts in Chapter One of my current book project. Somehow the distraction calmed my nerves.
When he finally came in, he apologized for taking so long.
“No worries,” I said. “You gave me time to get some work done. It’s so quiet in here.”
“Well, that’s good. What are you working on?” he asked.
“It’s kind of ironic, I suppose. I was reworking a section on being blindsided by something and the temptation to ask, ‘Why did this just happen?'”
As I explained the project, he smiled.
I remarked, “Pretty sure you might end up in this book…”
The conversation that followed sincerely was a game changer for me. His words forever marking that moment on my life map.
And we will set up an appointment with the best surgeon in this area……just so you know all of your options.
He continued talking about medical dispensations and risks and nerves and valves and …
My head was spinning. My heart sinking. I felt stuck in a whirlwind of whys and hows and whos and whats.
“Dr. Lawson, what did I do to cause this? I know I’ve been under a great deal of stress, but that’s par for life, isn’t it? There must be something I can do to fix it. Some natural things…right?”
“Listen, write this down in that little notebook of yours,” he said firmly, yet adding a smile. “This is not your fault. There are things in life you don’t control and this is one of them.”
“Well, that is really hard for me to accept,” I said, fighting the tears, once again. “There has to be something….”
“Let me repeat….” as he typed away at his notes. “I’m afraid not.”
“So you just wake up one morning and there it is…boom!”
“Yes, Achalasia chose you.”
The Deeper Question
So here I am in the aftermath. Spending more time in the waiting room.
There, in the quiet, I once again welcome God into the whirlwind of my whys.
And, like Moishe the Beadle, I pray to the God within me for strength to ask the real questions.
When something in my life is truly out of my control, I find I have only one place to run.
For me, that one place is to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith (Hebrews 11:1-2).
In this situation, I desperately wanted answers that would lead to a quick fix and then take me back to my normal.
But, as many of you already know, sometimes the answer is a new normal. We don’t have to like it but we do have to embrace it.
Maybe God will heal me. Maybe he won’t.
I know with profound certainty that there are deeper questions still. This diagnosis, much like one I had in 1998 (Spondylolythesis/Pars Defect), is going to require a life shift.
Your Whirlwind of Whys
I’m pretty sure, at one point or another, you have been caught in a whirlwind of whys.
How did you find your way to the peace that passes all understanding? I sure would like to know. The real, practical, hands-on stuff. Something we can all grab on to while we are being tossed to and fro.