Small children are so inquisitive. As little kids try to make sense of the world around them, they are particularly fond of one word. Why? My years as a parent of small children have long since vanished, but I still smile when I recall the times my carefully crafted answer to a profound question was met with yet another –why?
The need to make sense of the world around us doesn’t vanish as we get older. And neither does the question – why? Profound questions such as, why aren’t there any more dinosaurs give way to the unanswerable, why did my spouse leave me or why did my loved one die?
Our faith is challenged when life fails to meet our expectations. A certain amount of disappointment is tolerated and even expected but when the disparity between expectations and reality are the size of the Grand Canyon we find ourselves asking – why? When parents, friends and counselors can’t answer our ‘why’ question, there is only one person left we can ask.
Why God? Why do I have cancer? Why did I lose my job? Why did the person I love walk out on me? With each question, we are simply trying to make sense of our world!
It’s not unreasonable to ask God – why? What might be unreasonable is to think that God is obligated to answer us.
The Book of Job captures the story of a man trying to make sense of his broken world. His business was destroyed, his children were taken from him and his wife abandoned him. As Job sat engulfed in this grief and his body broken by sickness, so-called friends came to comfort him. Instead of consoling Job, these friends hurled accusations of Job’s hidden misdeeds.
In exasperation Job asked God – why? By God’s account, Job was the finest man in all the earth so why was all of this happening?
I find it interesting that God never answered Job’s question. In fact, God rebuked Job and basically asked him, “Who do you think you are?”
Job realized that behind his ‘why’ question was laid a dark fact, he didn’t trust God. Job thought God had abandoned him.
Nothing could have been further from the truth. In fact, once Job realized what he had done, God restored everything in Job’s life and gave him twice as much as before!
The next time you feel like asking God why – stop and ask yourself, “Am I trusting God right now?” It may not seem like it, but it is possible to complain to God yet still trust him. I’ll have to save that topic is for another time.