When things go wrong in our lives, we always ask ‘why?’ People are curious by nature so it stands to reason. I don’t know as there’s something necessarily wrong with asking why, but the thing I’ve noticed is that we either come to the wrong conclusions, or we never get anywhere with our questions.
The Bible offers a whole lot of reasons why things happen. In Genesis we see that Adam and Eve were punished for their sin. A few sentences later we see that Abel was killed for his righteousness. Christ told his disciples that the man born blind was born that way to enable God’s glory to be revealed. In 2 Corinthians Paul says we have trials so we might have compassion on others. Most interesting of all is Job who, well, it’s never entirely clear why that happened.
If we look just at the people in the Bible, we find that there are more “why’s” than answers. Why was Abraham so stupid as to not trust God for protection but to lie, twice, forcing his own wife into subjection on one occasion? Why didn’t David go out to battle instead of staying home and then ultimately giving into temptation and basically destroying his family? There are a lot of why’s, none of which we ever have an answer for.
In our lives lots of things happen and we immediately ask “why?” Why did I miss that light when we were in a hurry and late? Why did that job not work out? Why was that person at the store so rude when we don’t even know them?
There are serious questions as well, those are the ones that people like to think they have all the answers to. When I found 2 Cor 1:4
[God] comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
I thought I’d found all my answers. Things happened to me so I could be more sympathetic to others. The problem with that is that I can learn to be sympathetic without being hit repeatedly by my mother when she was angry. I can learn to be kind without experiencing the end result and guilt of taking my own anger out on my kids.
And so, we’re back to wanting to know “why?” Why doesn’t God just…well, insert your question.
The reason for asking is almost always the same, if we just knew, then everything would make sense. Kind of like learning about the solar system. Before we understand the why, it seems strange that the earth spins and revolves around the sun. Once we understand that this is what gives us days and night and seasons then we get it, and we no longer question it. We can move on to the next discovery.
But life is never like that. Life is instead, an endless series of unanswered “why’s?”
Why is the government doing nothing while ISIS murders innocent people? Why are there still people who are racist in our own country? Why do people act as if they care but they are just pretending and we don’t find out until it’s too late?
I have no answers. Even saying that people are evil by nature is no real answer because there are plenty of people who aren’t.
Instead, I’ve come to the conclusion that “why” is simply a disabling question, something the enemy uses to get us caught up in a circular argument in our heads. Or, worse, something with which we can pass judgement on others (Oh, I know why that bad thing happened to that person, it’s because of some sin in their lives.).
Both paths lead us to inaction and we become fairly useless to God, honestly. How can we be listening to what He wants us to do in our situation if we are busy shouting “why?” or if we are busy judging others?
I get so caught up in asking “why?” I even ask it when good things happen. I want to know, I think if I just have an answer I can somehow figure out my purpose in life, find what I’m supposed to do. But I think I’m beginning to see that it’s far more complicated than that.
And I don’t think I’m ever going to get an answer. Some people say we’ll get an answer in Heaven, but I don’t think that’s the point of Heaven at all. And I don’t think I’ll care once I get there.
I think that if I live long enough to have actually had a long period of good to look back at I still won’t understand my parents and Zelena and all the other abuse.
As I begin to understand this, the more God’s name makes sense to me. “I Am” is the answer. I can either go on demanding and ultimately getting angry and discouraged, or I can learn this fully, and live in the peace it promises.