Your grandfather dies and you cry out to God “why now?” The circumstances you find yourself in seem unnecessarily tough. Meeting the right guy or girl never seems to happen though you feel so ready. This week was one disaster after another. Someone who’s been through so much gets even yet more bad news.
Do you ever feel guilty for asking God “why?” Don’t. You aren’t the first –and you may not be sinning.
It isn’t disobedience to say, as the desperate father found in Mark 9:24 did: “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” In John 11, we read about Lazarus’ death, Jesus’ weeping, and Mary’s words: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
Think of the faithful examples in the Old Testament as well. Didn’t Job ask God why? And David? Consider his cry in Psalm 10:1 for example:
“Why, Lord, do you stand far off?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?”
Can you imagine Joseph, a young man sold into slavery, not at times asking the Lord why He allowed these things to happen? In fact, Joseph referred to have sought a reason for why God allowed so much to happen to him, saying in Genesis 45:7 to his brothers: “But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.”
Esther 4:14 also contains this powerful example of looking at the “why” of God’s work: “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?"
The prophets give us example after example as well. Just imagine Ezekiel’s question of “why” as God explained to Ezekiel that he was to be a watchman to a people who were hard, rebellious, and unlikely to listen to him. He asked Ezekiel to perform strange rituals as warnings –acts that often caused Ezekiel to live despised. What a futile task, it would seem!
But in all of these examples, in all of the implied and more direct “why” moments, God never rebukes His people. Our Lord never condemns any of us for asking “why.”
To ask God “why” often isn’t wrong at all. The confusion about this comes, however, when “why” involves:
- A test of His character
- A rejection of His will
- An act of disobedience
To disobey God, your intentions or actions contradict His Word, work, or person. You can ask why humbly, faithfully, and as a plea toward the perfect Lord. You can also ask Him why with the implication that He has done wrong –which is blasphemy.
Likewise, you can have doubt, you can struggle with unbelief, without sinning. Watch, however, that you do not act on doubt. To say, “because I don’t understand it, I won’t do it, Lord” negates faith. “Because I can’t grasp how you can be good and do this, I won’t go along with it” is rebellion and requires the pride of assuming you know better than He does.
Sin is sneaky like that. Satan clouds and distorts the truth to trick us –that’s more effective in many cases than outright lying. The “bent” truth here?
That asking “why” is sin. It’s not. Avoid assuming that your “why, Lord” trumps your ability to say “yes, Lord.”
…And ask away. Cry out like David. Consider His answer like Esther. Testify to His revealing of the “why” as Joseph did. Pray for Him to help your unbelief. The Lord does not condemn us for acting like His children.