When We Ask ‘Why?'”


With the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on 9/11 having just passed, we are reminded "Why, God?" of all those who lost loved ones in that tragedy. And we look around at people we know who are grieving recent losses or looking for a job or going through a divorce.

Why do some people struggle through life, while others seem blessed?

I have friends and family members who struggle with health, financial, and relationship issues. Others, including my husband and me, seem to be blessed with (mostly) good health, good friends and healthy finances. And I wonder what the difference is.

Oh, wait. Sometimes I have to remind myself that we have struggled in all those areas in years past. And may in the future. We just happen to be going through calm seas right now. As one of our friends likes to say, “We’re living the good life.”

But during those times of trouble, it’s tempting to ask God, “Why?”

And that’s OK!

With thanks and apologies to one of my pastors, I am reminded of these things, based on Genesis 25 (Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Esau).

-God doesn’t mind if we ask Him, “Why? Why me? Why this? Why now? Why not now?” (See James 1:6).

-But God doesn’t owe us an answer. “And they will know that I am the Lord; I did not threaten to bring this disaster on them without a reason” (Ezekiel 6:10, HCSB). (Also see Job 38-41.)

–God has a plan, and His plan is always good.

We may never understand until we see the situation from the other side of life. In Corrie ten Boom’s home in Holland, there hangs an embroidered cloth with the finished side facing the wall. The ten Boom family (who were imprisoned and tortured for their role in aiding Jews during World War II) wanted to reveal the knotted, messy back side of the picture as a reminder that the Master is working out a beautiful picture, even though all we see are the tangled threads.

Sometimes, knowing what we will have to face in the future would be too difficult for us. In the words of the great philosopher Jack Nicholson, “You can’t handle the truth.”

We can ask, but we can also cling to the truth that God knows the plans He has for us—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11, HCSB).

So go ahead. Ask, “Why, God?” But then, whether you see the answer or not, trust in His plans for your future. And cling to that Hope that only He can give you.

Further Reading:

Why Me? A Meditation on the Question

Thoughts on story and life, and questioning God …

15 Important Bible Verses About Questioning God

Asking God “what can I learn?” instead of “why me?”

 Questioning