Asking God, “Why?” – February 17, 2023

This past week a young man I know had a heart attack. I had the privilege of serving as his youth pastor and soccer coach. I have the extraordinary privilege of calling him a friend. Today he is fighting for his life. Over the past months, another young man I had the privilege of serving as his youth pastor, coach, and friend is battling cancer. Both young men are in their 20s. Both young men love the Lord and want to serve Him with their lives. Twice I have spent significant time asking God, “Why?”

We don’t have to live long before we all come to the place where we wonder why God allows certain things to happen. One prominent liberal theologian wrote a book asking the question and concluded that God is not really in control. However, this answer does not line up with Scripture. In several places, Scripture reminds us that God is in absolute control and is always good. But God does not always give us a reason behind His actions. So in those times, when we find ourselves asking why, we must lean into what we know of God.

Paul asks, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32). God sacrificed His Son for our redemption. He already gave the ultimate proof of His perfect love for us. God did not sacrifice His Son to forget about us now. In these overwhelming trials, we must remember that God is not withholding good from us. In His divine plan, God will work this for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28). Nothing can separate us from God’s holy, perfect love (Romans 8:38-39). We may not see the purpose behind our trial, but He sees it all.

What, then, is our response? First, we must understand that we can and should ask, “Why?” The Psalms are filled with songs of lament. God made us emotional beings to experience joy, happiness, and pain. When the pain comes, we don’t ignore it. However, God also invites us to cast that pain (that burden) on Him (1 Peter 5:7). So, out of the depths of despair, we cry to God (Psalm 130:1-2). It is not wrong to cry to God. It is necessary for us.

Second, we remind ourselves of God. We must speak the truth to ourselves even when we don’t feel it or believe it. We remind ourselves of His power, mercy, and faithfulness (Psalm 130:3-4). We remind ourselves that God’s love never fails (Romans 8). In these times, we meditate on Scripture. We pray God’s Words back to Him. And we lean into God’s people. We do these things because we need to remember who our God is (Job 38-42). And when we remember who God is, we see the God of all comfort.

Third, we wait for God to work. We wait with patience, knowing that God’s timing is not our timing (Psalm 130:6). We wait trusting that He keeps His Word (Psalm 130:5). We wait with hope (Psalm 130:7). We wait with this steadfast assurance that God will not let us down. Sometimes God gives us more than we can handle. But when He does so, He grants us His power (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). The trial may not leave, but God’s grace and power do not leave either.

Finally, we look to the eternal Kingdom. The struggles of this broken world remind us that redemption is coming. Sin and death will be no more. The day is coming when Christ will return and reverse sin’s curse. So we cry together, “Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly!” But until that day, in the middle of your struggle, as you ask God, “Why?” don’t quit! Don’t lose hope! Take your anxiety to God and find peace to help in times of need (Philippians 4:6-7).