When life’s complexities or tragedies overwhelm us, we sometimes ask, “Why, God?” The question rattles around in our minds, and can even escape our lips, when we’re troubled, devastated, crushed, or confused. When our comprehension comes up short, or when we can’t see any evidence of God’s activity, we occasionally wonder what God is up to. Or, more specifically, why God is allowing a certain event to occur.
Is it wrong, or sinful, to question God like this? The Bible record tells us that, no, it’s not necessarily wrong. Check out Psalm 22. The writer experiences deep turmoil. In the middle of his spiritual angst, he cries out in discontent, “Why, God?” The rest of the psalm continues the lament, but concludes with a realization that –even though the writer doesn’t fully get it – God is still to be trusted. God is still his only hope. God still knows better. “I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you,” the writer exclaims (Psalm 22:22).
Many are the times in my life when I just don’t grasp what God is doing in my life, in the lives of those whom I care about, or in the world. I think it’s OK to question, to cry out, to engage God in an honest dialog. He knows that our wisdom is limited. He’s patient. He can handle our anguished questions. Even Jesus, hanging on the cross, asked, “Why, God?” when he quoted Psalm 22.
I believe that God would rather that you and I come to him with our issues, and address them truthfully with him – as the psalm writer did – than to ignore him, or shut him out. So talk to God, honestly and openly, about whatever’s going on in your life that’s a struggle. Let his Word speak to you, and guide your mind. “Call upon me in the day of trouble,” God invites, “I will deliver you, and you will honor me” (Psalm 50:15). What an invitation, and what a promise!
Why, God, are you so good to me? So patient with me? So gracious to me?
Pastor Wayne Puls