We'll all do this at some point in our lives as we journey heavenward.
I'm pretty certain it comes packaged in our DNA.
In fact, it's hidden in those early stories we learned way back in Genesis onward.
Every one of us, at some time or another, questions God with a look upward and this query: "Why?"
I'm certain you've been there.
I have, as well; so, there's no judgement here.
Even this past weekend, while speaking at a women's retreat...and, honestly, at every retreat where I've been privileged to serve...as well as in the counseling-arena, the "why" arises...
...BECAUSE, inevitably (and this goes back to the introductory blog on suffering) our afflictions take us on roads we never wanted to travel. We'll find ourselves far from where we'd ever choose to be. Life looks a whole lot different than we ever imagined. Our expectations become dismantled right in front of our eyes.
As I write that last little paragraph, my mind travels to the last few weeks of my dad's life.
What started as a week-long visit, turned into four, as I traveled bedside to provide care as Dad battled a pain-filled cancer that ravaged his body and took his life rather quickly.
Never did I see myself in that place of being for my earthly father what he had always been for me, doing things no daughter should have to do for a parent (yet privileged to perform)...
...But, in the middle of those last days of his life, God ordained that I'd be taking an online master's-level-course on God and Suffering (for my counseling degree).
There is no way to peel back the onion that was the entire class; but, I discovered peace in the oddest aspect of God's character:
The mystery of God.
The unexplainable, unsearchable, unaccountable ways of the Lord.
There are times when what God does and what He allows absolutely make no sense.
"There are times," my professor said, "when God looks bad, even while knowing that He is good."
"There will be times when He seems unloving, unkind, and hard-hearted."
"There will be times when we will live with more mystery than clarity."
I wrote those words in big letters in my notes.
I knew, even as I wrote them, that one day I'd need them again.
Sure enough, I did and, no doubt, I will.
Underneath those words I jotted my own little note-to-self: "But, really, do I want a God who is explainable? If He ceases to be mysterious, won't He also cease to be God?"
Part of our DNA-problem is that we allow our suffering, and our questions in the moment, to redefine God for us.
Instead, as I began to recognize, all our trials, struggles, afflictions, pain, and difficulty must be defined by WHO HE SAYS HE IS.
Does He have to explain Himself?
As Job discovered, the Lord may never give us the answers to "why."
He simply reminds us to look deeply at the "what."
The WHAT of WHO HE IS and the WONDERS OF WHAT HE HAS DONE.
Do you remember all of Job's complaints to God?
And, do you recall how God answers?
He responds with His own questions! And, this statement:
"Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you declare the answers to me (Job 38:3)."
"Should a faultfinder contend with the Almighty (Job 40:2)?"
Two full chapters of questions, and Job responds: "Behold, I am of small account; what shall I even answer you? I lay my hand over my mouth (Job 40:4)."
Still the Lord questions Job for two more chapters...questions that remind Job of God's mystery, His unfathomable and unexplainable majesty, and His ways too wonderful to comprehend.
Ultimately Job says, "Who was I to ask You to explain yourself, Sovereign King and Creator?"
"Therefore, I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes (Job 42:6)!"
That's where our "Why?" questions should ultimately take us - to the ground, on our faces, before the mysterious, and sovereign King of Kings!
There, we can only respond with repentance.
Look up the synonyms for "questioning."
Here are just a few: perplexity, distrust, suspicion, doubt, and disbelief.
The bottom layer of that onion?
At the heart of the "why" is unbelief.
At the root of John Mark's story (found in 9:14-29) about the father who comes to Jesus seeking His help for the dearly-loved, demon-possessed son, we discover this truth:
The beginning of faith is always confession!
"I do believe; Lord, help my unbelief (vs. 24)!"
Often our suffering says more about what's not in our hearts (faith) than about what God is not doing for us (taking away our pain).
At the heart of God is a loving, benevolent, mysterious SOVEREIGN.
We don't want Him any other way!
In all suffering, run to His ARMS OF MYSTERY!