It seems more commonplace to hear the impassioned question “Why God?!” than to hear the more intellectual inquiry “Why God?” The former, typically, comes with crying out over hearing of some horrendously evil act in the world or a natural disaster or a friend’s life-threatening illness or a family member’s untimely death or some other form of suffering; whereas the latter, usually, comes from just wanting to gain understanding. On a personal level, I’ve been hearing quite a bit of the former lately and that’s caused me to consider the appropriateness of asking God either form of this question.
I have to admit that, when I consider asking God, The Creator of all, any question, my instincts tell me that doing so would be impertinent and my first thought is, “Who do you think you are?!” Next, I think, “Even if it is OK for me to ask God ‘Why?’, what makes me think He owes me any explanation.” But, when you rely on the natural to discern the supernatural, you’re likely to miss the mark. A devotional I came across, by Pastor Greg Laurie, also entitled “Why God?”, has helped me to recognize that my instincts have been off target with this. Pastor Greg says,
“I don’t think it is ever a bad thing to ask God why. Some people will say that we should never question God. But I question God all the time. I don’t mean that I doubt His existence. But I do say, ‘Lord, I don’t understand why you have done (thus and so). . . . Why, Lord?’
As you read the psalms, you see that many times the psalmist cried out, in essence, ‘Why, God? Why have You allowed this in my life?’
And Jesus Himself asked, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’ (Matthew 27:45–47).
So don’t think it is wrong to ask, ‘Why, God?’ It isn’t wrong. But let me add this: don’t expect an answer, necessarily. You can ask all you want. And maybe the Lord will give you an answer. But in most cases, He won’t. Quite frankly, I think that if He did, we wouldn’t understand it anyway.”
One question that can come even before determining if it’s appropriate to seek God’s help in dealing with suffering or to obtain understanding is whether or not God is the right place to start. I want to encourage you that it is. Recently, I heard a friend react to the news of a mutual friend’s possibly life-threatening illness by asking, “What the heck universe?!” This sweet lady may have just been venting her frustration, rather than actually seeking some answer from the universe. But, I’ve seen far too many who look for answers from the creation rather than from The Creator and that’s a sad mistake.
In my next few articles, I plan to discuss how God has provided answers for many of the most common “Why God?” questions. In order for this to be of any benefit to you, it will be necessary for you to share my belief in God and His Word. If so, I think you’ll find this to be a worthwhile and productive effort. However, if you’re one who can look at creation and still want to argue that there is no Creator, I’m not the guy to address your absurdity and I’ll spend no time on that in my articles. Likewise, with God’s Word. Chuck Missler, Founder of Koinonia House states, “The Bible is a message system: it’s not simply 66 books penned by 40 authors over thousands of years, the Bible is an integrated whole which bears evidence of supernatural engineering in every detail!” If you’re so foolish as to question the ability of the same God Who holds the sun in place to also hold His Word together in this message system, it’s beyond me to help you with that and my articles will make no effort to that end.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11