These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfilment of the ages has come. 1 Corinthians 10:11
Rick Warren, a pastor who speaks to some 12,000 people every week, says that the question which people ask more than any other is, “Why did this happen to me?” Has that question ever come from your heart? A phone call in the night brought news that your best friend had been injured in an automobile accident. You were laid off at work, replaced by a younger person. The company that you thought was on the way up went south with your savings. Just when your husband retired and you thought you could enjoy life, a stroke changed everything.
That’s when you also asked, “Why did this happen to me?”
Is it wrong to ask that question? Does God look at you with disdain, saying, “Hey, if you really trusted me, you wouldn’t be asking!”? In finding an answer to that question, take a look at what happened to Job, because if God condemned us for asking, Job would have been on the hot seat very quickly. You know the story. Job’s world collapsed as God allowed Satan to sift and test him. First, his children were slain. Then lightning destroyed his flocks. The Chaldeans stole his camels and killed his servants, and a great wind collapsed his house. Talk about your world coming apart!
Repeatedly Job cried, “Why?” Included in the long lists of whys are these questions: “Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb?” (Job 3:11). “Why is a man allowed to be born if God is only going to give him a hopeless life of uselessness and frustration?” (Job 3:23, Living Bible). “Why do the wicked live on, growing old and increasing in power?” (Job 21:7, Living Bible).
So is God deaf to your pleas? Does He simply ignore your questions as a mother does the whys of her three-year-old at the end of the day? Or does He answer in ways that you find hard to understand and, therefore, assume he is ignoring you?
First, may I point out that God understands the anguish of your heart, and, fortunately, is more understanding with you than you are with Him. As the psalmist put it, “He knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14).
During a trial we are usually not in the mood to really know why; rather, we want to vent our feelings. We want to know how we can get through the trial. That’s how Job was, and eventually, God showed him His hand clearly–which refined him, taught him, and blessed him, taking him through the adversity.
I am also reminded that God isn’t obligated to explain everything that happens to me, as though He should respond to me as a teacher would a schoolboy. God is God and He answers to no one.
If you get to heaven and find the sign that says, “All questions answered here,” what question will you ask of God? Sometimes we look back in retrospect and understand clearly why something happened, but in most cases if God should tell us why something happened, we still couldn’t understand. Far better it is to know that He cares and will eventually lead you out of your pain than to know why He allowed it.
By the way, I for one don’t expect to find that line where all the questions are answered when I enter the Pearly Gates. I think either we will immediately know and understand or else it just won’t matter, and the older I get the more convinced I am that it just won’t matter.
Why? Because we will see the whole, whereas we see through a very dark glass with limited vision and understanding. We’ve got to let God be God. Why? Because we’re human. That’s why.
Resource reading: Job 42.