Most, if not all of us, have asked why we can’t have friends over, go to an event, or make a certain purchase – only to have our parents tell us “because I said so”. We were given a message early on to not question authority: teachers, employers, pastors, and so on. Most egregious was to question God! Many people of us believed that it was inappropriate at best, and sinful at worst, to question why God allows certain things to happen.
It has taken me quite a long time to learn that it is perfectly fine to question God. In the Bible, Matthew 7:7-8 reads: 7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.“
Never be discouraged from asking why. That being said, keep in mind that when we ask God “why”, we may not receive the answer we like. God may say to us, just as our parents did, “Because I said so”.
Oftentimes our parents gave us instructions that we did not fully understand or agree with. However, the parent was in the position of knowing the outcome of situations when we were complicit, versus when we were disobedient. If you are facing your mom and she says “get on your knees right now”, you don’t know that she has the benefit of seeing an object coming directly at your back. There may be times when mom has the time and inclination to explain “why” to you. However there may be occasions when time does not permit or even warrant explanation, but rather compliance with the directive.
The same is true of our life situations, and our questioning of God. Sometimes we suffer unspeakable pain: poor health and disease, financial ruin, sexual molestation, physical abuse, infidelity & broken relationships, discrimination, deaths of loved ones, and the list goes on. During those times, it is very natural, normal, and acceptable to ask God why. He may answer, but He sometimes does not. Remember the story of Job in the Bible? He was a good man, a wealthy man, a man who loved God. God allowed Job to suffer in ways that few of us can even fathom. Though he never lost faith in God, Job wanted God to vindicate him to his friends and to testify that Job was not suffering because of any wrong-doing on his part. God did restore to Job double portions of all the loss he had suffered, but not before asking Job some questions of His own. He begins in the 38th book of Job, of which the first few verses are at the end of this post.
The point is this: ask God WHY, but don’t stop there, because like Job, we may never know the answer to that question. Ask God the follow-up question HOW? How can this situation make me better, stronger, closer to you, and a help to others? God, like our parents, may not always answer our question why. However, we can gain comfort in knowing that most of our parents had our best interests at heart, and God ALWAYS has our best interests at heart.
Finally, take some time and read the story of Job. It directly precedes Psalm in the Old Testament of the Bible. If you don’t have time to read the entire story, read the first 3 chapters and the last 5 chapeters. It is really very interesting, and more importantly, very helpful in difficult times. Why should you do that? BECAUSE I SAID SO! 🙂
38 Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:
2 “Who is this that obscures my plans
with words without knowledge?
3 Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?