The Question


12:05 am and two miles from my exit…my wife asks me what’s on my mind…I guess I’m a little quieter than usual.  “I have a lot to do in the next 24 hours,” I tell her.  I’ve been out of the office for a little over a week and only one day to catch up before another short trip that leads up to Sunday.  I do that…get lost in my thoughts when there is a lot looming over my head.  I’m planning and plotting to come up with a way to get done what seems to be mocking me from the shadows.  Somehow, I’ll get it all done…or at least what has to be done.

However, there’s something more that is troubling my mind on this journey.  It’s a gnawing at my heart and my mind that just won’t go away.  It’s the thought that I later posted as my Facebook status, “I am so frustrated that God doesn’t fit in my box…yet if He did, I wouldn’t believe in Him any more.”

The last month has been filled with some good moments of worship, prayer, walking with brothers in pursuit of Jesus.  A covenant commitment has brought some spiritual rewards for me…and others.  I’ve been encouraged and bolstered in my faith by God’s Spirit and through the interaction with brothers.  I’ve found strength and resolution in some aspects of my marital relationship.  These days have been, at times, uplifting, and at others, extremely difficult.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking for sympathy or pity; I’m in a much better place than a brother with whom I’ve been walking.  My faith isn’t shaken, for sure…but, out of this has come as much a question as an answer…and as much an answer as a question.  The question is “Why?”

The Question both Answerable and Unanswerable

“Why?” is not an easy question to answer.  It is a question a young child asks that drives a parent to frustration.  Incessantly asking, “Why?”, will inevitably lead the adult to respond, “Because I said so!”  For a child, this may stop the verbal questioning, but it is unlikely to stop the mental inquiry.  At that moment, the child may stop asking due to a fear of more drastic consequences, but there will not be the satisfaction of knowing the answer.  As maturity is gained, it is likely that the answer will become clear…if not because of explicit answers, perhaps because of implicit observation.  If there is a knowledge and satisfaction that the parent loves the child, there will be a sense of security that pervades even if the understanding of “why” is never achieved.

“Why?” answers don’t always come.  This is the most frustrating aspect of the issue.  I’ve said it…to myself and to others, “We may never know why that happened.”  That, while absolutely true, may seem hollow and to fall short when we are in the midst of a very painful situation.  If knowing why is absolutely critical for us to survive or thrive…if that alone is the source of peace…peace may be a condition that will forever elude us.  For the reality is this…we may not know why…it’s that simple.  It is what it is.  For that reason, there will need to be another source from which that peace comes.

God isn’t afraid of our “why” questions.  He isn’t caught off guard by anything we face…or ask about.  Perhaps, that in itself makes the situation even more difficult.  If God knew this was going to happen, why did He allow it?  Or…even more frustrating, why did He cause it?  We get angry…we cry out to, or against, the God whom we’ve been taught loves us and will take care of us.  It is in that place of emotional and spiritual anguish that we question…we want to know why, as if we think that will make things better.  Perhaps it would.  But, then again, perhaps it would only bring more questions.

Sometimes God answers our questions…at least we can look at it that way.  Well…I know He does.  I have seen it…in my own life and in the lives of others.  Sometimes, like in the life of Job, He doesn’t answer until much later…and then, not fully.

Here is one thing I know…God is faithful.  God is love.  God is real.  In the following installments of this series, I will continue to wrestle with the struggle of “fitting our thinking” into the Truth, rather than fitting God into my box.  This will be a journey for me as much as anything.  For as I travel this path, I am doing so in order to shoulder a burden I feel for others who are asking this question…I’m searching for their answer…I’m searching for my answer.

Isaiah 1:18

“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”

The Next Post in the Series is HERE.

8 thoughts on “The Question”

  1. Incredible observations here, bro. The “why” questions continue to pervade our existence, and we embrace the frustrating reality of the messy journey, and even if we don’t get the answers, or answers with which we’re satisifed, He continues to call us to travel with Him, “fitting our truth into His Truth.” Right there with you, comrade.

  2. Ever since taking the Experiencing God series (now for the third time) I’ve learned that God’s will is often confirmed by looking back. The perplexing question of “why”, particularly when I’m caught up in the moment of catastrophe or in fits of doubt, has been changed to, “ahh, so that’s it” moments. The most difficult lesson for me has been that when I don’t understand, I must simply trust that His grace is sufficient; or even further, “Yea, though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”
    Not quite there yet, but He’s still working on me.
    To not question “why” is to stop seeking. God expects us to question, but He won’t tolerate doubt. Even though my earthly father would say, “Because I said so”, it never diminished my thoughts of him as my hero and one that I aspired to emulate. God, in His love and wisdom, has sometimes put human reasoning off limits to try our faith. That’s the big “WHY?????” in my life. His ways are not our ways, and are beyond the full scope of our understanding. All I know is, if you don’t know the Word, you don’t know the difference, and the Word tells me, “Not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord.”
    Love you, Bro. Randy, and I’m praying for you and I look forward to being with you on this journey because I see growth potential here.

    1. Thanks, Ray. You wrote, “To not question “why” is to stop seeking. God expects us to question, but He won’t tolerate doubt.” You are right, God is not afraid of our “whys” and it IS a way to seek Him for fully if we are truly wanting to know the truth. Perhaps He DOES tolerate doubts, or else we’d all be gone by now, but He doesn’t respond to doubt…only to faith…for without it, it is impossible to please Him (Heb. 11:6). Thanks for your comments and for walking the journey.

      1. You’re right about doubt. I used the wrong terminology because God is indeed tolerant of us all and way more forgiving than we deserve. Give me a call some time and get me up to speed on where you are and how I can specifically focus my prayer and study. “Iron sharpens iron” I’ve heard you say many times, and truth is what we seek; not to pacify our whims, but to cement our faith in Him.

        1. Will do…it’s a journey. I want to be as sharp as possible to help others more than anything. When I look into the eyes of another person who has claimed faith and I see hurt, emptiness and only a glimmering hope, I want to know I have more than just cliches and platitudes to offer. Thanks for your desire to engage, bro.

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