One day, after months and months of pleading these questions and God not giving me an answer, the bitterness growing stronger in my heart, I felt strongly that God was telling me I’d been asking the wrong question.
“What other question is there?” I asked. And it hit me. The question to ask was not "Why?" but "What?" with a heart to learn God’s heart.
“What do you want me to learn from this journey? What good do you want to come from this? What testimony will we have from this? What do you want me to do to help my child? In what areas do I need to trust you more?” On and on, the questions went.
And He started answering those questions. Because He wanted me to grow stronger through this journey, to trust Him in ways I’ve never had to trust Him in before. Because He wanted me to encourage other moms going through the same journey. Because He would give me and my son an amazing testimony to share one day. Because He was growing in us a compassion for others, a strength to persevere we wouldn’t have had otherwise. Because we were growing closer to God than we would have without this journey we were going through.
By asking what, instead of why, it put God back on His throne. Asking “What?” questions suggests humility, trusting God. Asking “Why?” suggests a hostility toward God, a belief that we know better than the Creator Himself. Ouch.
It’s not wrong to ask God questions. We just need to make sure we’re asking them in humility, acknowledging that God is sovereign and in control.
Job asked God lots of questions after all the suffering he experienced. Did I mention lots of questions? Chapters of them throughout the book of Job. A lot of them demanding things of God and His character. Several which were those demanding why questions. “Why did I not perish at birth?” (Job 3:11) and “Why is life given to a man whose way is hidden, whom God has hedged in?” (Job 3:23). Job doubted God’s goodness, God’s wisdom in creating him. God’s answer, a whopping four chapters in the Bible (chapters 38-41), can be summarized in a nutshell as “I am Creator, and I am in control.” Job’s response was to repent in dust and ashes declaring to God “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know,” (Job 42:3).
I find it interesting that God never answers Job’s deepest questions. God doesn’t tell Job “Well, since you asked, I was just so proud of you and bragged about you to Satan, and then Satan said if we made you miserable you would turn away from me, so I had to prove to him that you really are a loyal follower and that you love me, no matter the circumstances in your life.” No, God never gives an explanation, but He does remind Job that He is God the Creator, and He is in control.
And that is the answer He always gives us.
Prayer: Oh God, help us to ask questions with a humble heart and a desire to learn about you and your ways. Help us to trust you, that though things may not be turning out the way we desire, you are still in control and you are good.
By Jenn Soehnlin