The Fifth W

Who. What. Where. When. Why.

Pretty basic stuff right? I mean, we’re taught the five W’s in what, second grade? Those first four W’s are pretty basic stuff, but if you ask me, that fifth W can be a real pain in the neck sometimes. I guess the five W’s missed the memo about saving the best for last…

I think everyone has asked themselves “why” something happens at some point in time in there life. Why does poverty and homelessness occur? Why do young people die? Why do people get sick? Why does someone get injured in a freak accident, changing their life forever in a split second? Why. To be completely honest with you, that really wasn’t a question I’ve struggled with since all this happened. I guess I’ve always had this belief that everything happens for a reason. Keyword in that sentence, had.

Why past tense? Now that “why” I can answer…I’ve been volunteering with this awesome new organization called the ave. The ave. is a community built to encourage spiritual growth and provide a place of fellowship for high school students in local WELS churches. I guess just really giving them a place to connect with some peers and learn about God’s word in a “teen friendly” environment. We meet at a local coffee shop twice a month to “unplug” and “plugin.” We seek to refocus with music, God’s word, prayer, and often listen to a speaker (if you’re local and know of some students who could benefit, check out the website and have them come join us!).


I love going and chatting with some great students and other volunteers; plus as a bonus, I get to worship, listen, and learn (yeay learning!). This past session, Pastor Leon Ehlert (a teacher at Fox Valley Lutheran) was our keynote speaker who talked about how and why Christians suffer.

That’s quite the concept right? Suffering-those moments that lead us to ask why. Pastor Ehlert made a point about this concept of “why” that so many of us struggle with and that once held “everything happens for a reason” belief that I’m still just reveling in.

Reason: noun. a basis or cause, as for some belief, action, fact, event, etc.

An inherent part of the concept of “reason” is the occurrence of cause and effect. Something happens because of something else. You get to work late because you left home late. You’re tired because you went to bed late. You run out of toilet paper because you aren’t on Mom’s Costco TP distribution list (okay, okay, she doesn’t have a list, but some days it feels like she should…)

If everything did happen for a reason, that would mean there was a cause behind the “bad” things that happen, and that is something I just can’t get myself to believe.

But I do believe that everything has a purpose.

*Insert sound of a million exploding light bulbs*

It’s just a word, but it my mind, that one word makes a huge difference. Things don’t happen because we deserve them and we’re stuck in this destructively terrifying karma cycle, they happen each for their own purpose.

I guess in one sense, knowing there’s a purpose for our trials brings a sigh of relief. But in other moments, purpose doesn’t make our life and the challenges and suffering we experience any easier. They’re still just as hard, still just as intimidating, and still just as make-you-want-to-put-your-head-under-a-blanket-and-cry as before. But in those hard and intimidating moments, I think it helps to take comfort in knowing some good will some HOW come from those moments of pain. I can’t tell you how much I want to go back and tell my November 2013 self this realization…

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. -Romans 8:28

Maybe we won’t figure out what those good things are for awhile or maybe we won’t ever figure out what those good things are; but we can at least hold our heads high and push forward, realizing our struggles have a purpose that is likely much bigger than ourselves or than we could ever imagine and comprehend.

Yep, that’s how I’m answering my “why.”

5 thoughts on “The Fifth W

  1. Erika Lichtfuss says:

    You have so much wisdom Sam! I’m so glad you wrote this, it can be a hard truth to deal with, harder for some more than others in various circumstances. In our culture, when you can’t see the immediate purpose for a struggle it’s hard to keep going and believe that God has a plan. We just have to keep reminding ourselves that He’s in complete control, always has been and always will be. And best of all he loves us more than we know, and therefore always wants the best for us, “his children”.

  2. Shelley Nulton says:

    Awesome, this is one of my favorite posts so far. “Purpose” is a powerful word, and like you said not always easy. Also knowing that with your purpose you have the promise from Christ that he will love you and be with you always, for eternity in every moment of your living of your purpose. Thanks for blessing my morning with this and I pray you feel God’s love in a powerful, way today as you live in His love.
    Shelley Nulton

  3. Katie Rickert says:

    You are amazing! You put so much feelings into your words. Sounds like an awesome group of people that
    you meet with.

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