hen I was growing up, I hated hearing ” Because I said so,” which seemed to be every adult’s favorite line.
I was a curious kid, which kept me in trouble. I wanted to know and do everything, and if I was told “No,” I wanted to know why. After one such because-I-said-so lecture, I promised myself never to use this excuse with my children.
Throughout my adolescence and into adulthood, it seemed God was just another authority figure refusing to give me real answers. When my prayers seemed unheard or unanswered, why didn’t God just tell me why? I loved God and served Him . . . but sometimes resented Him.
It wasn’t until I became a mother to my own kids, as well as to a multitude of foster children, that I finally listened to what God had been saying all along.
The answer came through a precious 4-year-old who lived with us for a year, and whom we loved as one of our own. She had sandy blonde hair, and when she first joined our family, she did not even know how to smile for a photograph. We have tons of pictures of everyone else smiling beautifully, but there she is with one eye closed, scrunching her nose and baring her teeth. It was precious and heartbreaking at the same time.
“Sandy” made it clear she had her own mother and father, and we were not them. She called me by my first name, and when it was time for a visit with her family, she sang and danced around the house in excitement.
Her story has a happy ending, for her parents worked hard and she was eventually able to go home, but it was a long road. We hung photos of her family around the house, drew pictures for them, and prayed for them every night—anything we could do to make her time away easier.
I’ll never forget the day she padded into the kitchen, her favorite teddy bear tucked safely under her arm. In a matter-of-fact tone, she looked me in the eyes and said, “Holly, Id on’t want to live at your house anymore.”
This was an important moment. She had come to me with her heart on her sleeve and deserved a real answer to all the unsaid questions:
How much longer do I have to be here…why can’t I be with my family . . . why can’t I just go home?
I wrapped her in my arms and said, “I know you want to go home, and I’m sorry you have to go through this. But I am here for you, and we will get through this together.”’
I felt like I had just given her a fancy version of “because I said so.”
The truth is, that’s exactly what she needed to hear. Her 4-year-old mind could not understand the complexities of her situation, and laying out the plan to get her home would only frustrate her and seem like an eternity. The most loving thing I could say was, “I know this is hard and you don’t understand, but I love you and I am here for you.”
There are time we walk hard roads as well, wishing we could fast-forward to a happy ending. Facing difficulties with no directional signs in sight can be frustrating…but we must not forget that just because we don’t see God working, doesn’t mean He’s not.
In the second chapter of Ruth, we find Ruth elbow-deep in grain in the field of her kinsman Boaz. She had lost the love of her life, the promise of children, the comfort and security of the home she once knew. The future laid out before her was anything but a dream. Everything she saw, heard, and felt said her current road was permanent—there was no evidence that her situation would ever change. Ruth had no way of knowing that she was only days away from “happily ever after.” God had not forsaken her; He was carrying out the plan that had always been in place. All she had to do was stay on the road He had called her to walk.
When you feel abandoned, it is normal to be tempted to take things into your own hands. In those moments, remember God will “never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5 NKJV). Why? Because He said so.