The question “Why?” is posed about 420 times in the Bible (according to The Strongest NASB Exhaustive Concordance). Some of the questions are directed to God from man, others to man from God, and still others between men.
We begin asking “Why?” at a very early age, usually as a toddler. It is in our human nature to want to know the reason or purpose for actions we must take or events that happen in our lives (or the lives of others). I remember a little boy I used to baby-sit, who is now driving, by the way… Wow, that makes me feel old! He was never satisfied with any answer I gave to his questions. Each answer was followed with another “why?”
“Why is the sky blue?”
“Because God made it that way.”
“Because He wanted to.”
“Because He thinks it’s a pretty color”
“I don’t know.”
Eventually you can distract a 4-year-old with a toy or game and his inquisitive mind gives you peace for a time. However, as we get older, we become more persistent in ask “why?” Especially when we don’t understand the reason God allows certain situations that bring us grief or pain or lack the knowledge of purpose behind it. Thankfully, our Father is patient with us when we continue to question Him and comforts us with His Word. His answer is often a simple “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
In the Bible, Job’s questions with questions (and a bit of sarcasm) that bring the realization of the Lord’s supreme authority over all things.
“Would you discredit My justice?
Would you condemn Me to justify yourself?
Do you have an arm like God’s, and can your voice thunder like His?
Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor, and clothe yourself in honor and majesty.” (Job 40:8-10)
“I know that You can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.
You ask, ‘Who is this that obscures My counsel without knowledge?’
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.”
I love Job’s response! He humbly acknowledges God’s ability to do “all things” and his inability to understand the reason behind his suffering. In the end, we may still have questions and they may never be answered to our satisfaction, yet, we must trust that God knows what He is doing. He created us and everything around us. He causes everything to work together for a purpose, even when we don’t know what it is. This is a difficult lesson to learn (and re-learn) during difficult times in our life. We so often want to be in control and want to know the “why” of everything. Sometimes we just have to trust.
I pray that my heart will be as the following verses—with earnest trust in our Father’s lovingkindness and faithfulness.
“Lord, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty.
I don’t concern myself with matters too great or too awesome for me to grasp.
Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself, like a weaned child with its mother.
Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, put your hope in the Lord—now and always.”