Is it OK to ask God ‘why’?
In my experience, we usually cry out to God and ask why when things are happening around or to us that are a bit out of control or discomforting.
Some say we shouldn’t ask God why, but simply trust him. I’m totally committed to trusting God, but I also think the question ‘why’ can, should and must be asked.
One caution at this point, I think it’s important to discern when we ask, are we whining or are we really asking God for an answer. Whining is usually a shrill form of complaining, whereas asking is seeking God for insight, understanding, and correction.
Asking God why is not uncommon in the Bible. The Psalmists asked many times…
Psalm 10:1 records, Why do You stand afar off, O Lord? Why do You hide in times of trouble? Psalm 22:1 reads, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My groaning?
Sometimes God answers before we finish asking, sometimes it’s hours or months or years, and with some questions, we may never, on this side of heaven, know.
Trusting God shouldn’t be dependent on whether we get an answer or not.
I recently read the Old Testament book of Habakkuk. The first chapter begins with the prophet asking God why he wasn’t getting answers to his prayers and nothing seemed to be happening from the God-side of things. After asking, Habakkuk turned from asking to listening, from listening to praying, from his eyes being on the circumstances around him, to his eyes on God… and things began to change… not the circumstances, but in his heart. Habakkuk was no longer anxious about his circumstances… his eyes and thoughts had turned to God.
Habakkuk didn’t deny his problems, he didn’t treat them lightly, instead he found God sufficient in the midst of them all.
Habakkuk’s journey took him to ‘higher ground’… in his relationship with God. A place of faith, a place of joy and rejoicing, and a place of strength and confidence in God.
It’s possible to rise above circumstances, and even rejoice in them, by focusing and trusting in God who stands above them all.
Asking why can be a wonderful journey to trusting God in the midst of all that comes our way.
Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation. The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He will make me as surefooted as a deer and bring me safely over the mountains. (Habakkuk 3:17-19)
Louis J. Locke is founding pastor of Fountainhead Foursquare Church, www.ffccarson.org.