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Why Ask Why?

A View of the Guiding Light in a World of Darkness is a weekly devotional that seeks to apply Biblical principles to our everyday lives, written by inspirational speaker and writer, Jeremy Curry.

Job 38:2-4

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. (NIV)

Exodus 5:22-23 – 6:1

22 Moses returned to the LORD and said, “Why, Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Is this why you sent me? 23 Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.”

1 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country.” (NIV)

I’m whisked back to multiple movie scenes where something awful has happened and the character looks to the sky and screams, “Why God? Why?” How many times have you and I asked God that question? It seems that we ask why when our issues are much deeper, much more emotional, and very personal. We ask God things like, “Why did my best friend die from cancer?” Or, maybe you are asking God, “Why did my relationship with my spouse break apart?” Others of us may be asking about broken families or friendships. No matter who we are or what it is about, at some point in our lives, we have asked God, “why?” Is it okay to ask God this question? And, whether it is or isn’t, why do we ask why? Shouldn’t we just accept everything on faith?

As part of the Bible reading for this week’s devotional, I listed passages from two different stories. The first is regarding Job. Under very difficult circumstances, Job begins to break. In chapter 3 of Job, amidst other questions of complaint, we see him ask why he was even born. He grumbles about many things. Eventually, as you read in the passage, we see God question Job. It shows God’s anger toward all of the complaints and all of the questions of “why” that Job has asked. Job’s heart regarding his questions clearly wasn’t right as he agonizingly grilled the ways of the Almighty. Otherwise, God would not have “put Job in his place.”

If Job can’t ask God why something happens, is there a time that is right? If we look at Moses, he and his brother Aaron have just gone to Pharaoh and asked him to allow the Israelites to go spend several days in the wilderness so they can hold a feast for the Lord. They asked Pharaoh this question because God asked them to do it. Pharaoh gives them a solid “no.” As a result, since the Israelites are slaves to the Pharaoh, he makes work much harder for them. The leaders of the Israelites then complain to Moses and Aaron, blaming them for making life much more difficult. Moses then asks God why He had them go to Pharaoh in the first place. He asks if it was God’s plan to make things worse on the Israelites. Moses asks this with an earnest heart. He asks an honest question, “why?” God replies and says that He does it so that the Israelites will see what He does to Pharaoh.

God uses this example to show the Israelites that He is all-powerful, trustworthy, loving, dependable, patient, and so many other good characteristics of God as He eventually leads them out of Egypt. In this instance, God tells Moses why He is doing these things. He builds trust with Moses and with the people of Israel. In essence, God uses this as a teachable moment for His chosen people.

What does this mean for us? We find that it is certainly okay to ask God “why?” And, as we learn with these passages, we need to change one of our initial questions, which was, “why do we ask why?” Instead, the question should be, “how should we ask why?” The answer to this is that if we ask God “why,” we should do so seeking Him not in complaining, but in humility.

Should we have so much faith in God that we never ask Him why certain things have happened? Even Moses, who literally talked to God, asked Him this question. Despite how great or little our faith, sometimes we need to ask the honest question to God, “why?”

While we can ask this question, sometimes we may not know why something happens. Expecting an answer isn’t part of a heart of humility. We may ask God, but He may not give us an answer. And there are times when we won’t know the answer for years. In fact, even when we are given an answer, the resulting actions taken by God may not happen for a very long time. Certainly, Moses wasn’t instantly leading the Israelites out of Egypt seconds after God answers him. Neither should we expect action to happen immediately whether we do or do not get an answer to our question.

Remember that God has a plan for you (Jeremiah 29:11). Whatever happens in your life is part of God’s bigger plan for you. And, if you love God, all things work together for good (Romans 8:28). When you are in the midst of not knowing “why,” ask your Father. And, even if you don’t receive an answer, know that He is the Almighty and always has a reason for whatever you are going through.

Father, remind us that there are reasons for everything that happen in our lives. Remind us that there are reasons for broken relationships, for our wounds, and for the good things in our lives. May you heal the broken-hearted this day, may those who are seeking you find their salvation in you today, may you heal broken relationships, and may you give reasons or reveal the answer to the question of “why” to those who need it most. We love you, Father. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

If you have been touched by this devotional, Your Blind Faith would like to hear from you. If you don’t feel comfortable leaving a public comment, send a note to jeremy@yourblindfaith.com to let us know how God has touched your life with this devotional. We will not publish or share your information.