I’ll go ahead and confess: there are times I ask God “why?”
I know some of you will stop reading right here because you think it wrong to question God. No one has shown me where in the Bible we find that particular prohibition. I have a hunch that it’s not there at all; it’s a man-made adage.
In the Bible, God encourages us to ask Him questions.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” – James 1:5
Not only does God encourage us to ask Him questions, but also promises to answer “without reproach.” That means that He will not scold us for questioning Him.
Let me hasten to declare that I believe strongly that it is never in our best interests to DOUBT God. However, we will never learn God’s life lessons if we never ask Him questions. And “why” is one of the best questions we can ask Him.
A Biblical Example of “Why?”
John 11:1-44 contains one of the best Biblical examples of someone asking Jesus “why” questions. Jesus and His disciples received news that His friend Lazarus was sick. When Jesus decided two days later to travel to Lazarus’ aid, His disciples questioned why. They realized a return to that area could have dangerous consequences for Jesus.
Along the way, Lazarus’ sister Martha came out to meet Jesus questioning why He waited to come after Lazarus died. Then Jesus encountered the other sister, Mary, who also questioned Jesus’ delay in coming. As they made their way to Lazarus’ tomb, the other mourners question why Jesus didn’t come and heal Lazarus before he died.
They all felt heartbroken and that Jesus had somehow given them a raw deal. He claimed to be their friend, but in their hour of greatest need, He seemingly had failed them. He had the ability to prevent Lazarus’ death, but for reasons unknown to them, He didn’t. Questions abounded.
Chances are you’ve felt that way too. God could’ve prevented something, but He let it happen. We wonder if God is mad at us, punishing us, or even worse, ignoring us. Why did God LET that happen? Why didn’t God STOP that from happening? God, are you there? Do you hear? Do you care?
Lessons in the “Why?”
We all have different “why” moments and even our own “why” moments differ from situation to situation. But the encounter of Jesus with Lazarus and his family provides some general lessons that may help us on our days that end in “why.”
- Yes, God can prevent but sometimes He allows for reasons known only to Him. That doesn’t mean he no longer cares; it just means He knows some things that we don’t.
- God does what He does – and what He does NOT – to ground our faith in HIM, not in our circumstances. That way HE gets the glory.
- Just because God doesn’t handle a situation the way we think He should does not mean the end has come. He may have a grander plan. It’s never “over” until HE says it’s “over.”
So, go ahead. It’s OK to hurt, to cry, and yes even to ask God “why.” Know all along, however, that He has you in His heart and He holds you in His hand.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” – Matthew 7:7-8