Dealing With Unanswered Questions About the Past


Even for those of us who have a strong faith, there are times when our deepest questions about the past will remain unanswered by the One who knows everything. Shana Schutte shares how to deal with this.

No one is immune to unanswered questions created by life’s challenges. It’s at these times that the path from where we were to where we now stand is often shrouded in confusion; we can’t make sense of what God has done. Why haven’t my dreams been fulfilled? Lord, why did you lead me here? God, why did I have to go through that trial? Jesus, why did that relationship end? Why didn’t my parents love me? Why did I lose my job?

Even for those of us who have a strong faith, there are times when our deepest questions about the past will remain unanswered by the One who knows everything.

Don’t Sacrifice the Present for What You Can’t Change

In the classic book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor E. Frankl, an Auschwitz survivor and psychologist, addresses the question as to why some prisoners survived the brutalities of concentration camp life, while others did not. Certainly some were so ill that they couldn’t go on, but the distinguishing characteristic, says Frankl, was that those who looked to the future in hope, lived. These courageous souls did not look backward and demand answers. Instead, they had “rich intellectual lives.” They used their imaginations to plan the future. They thought about the joy that would be theirs seeing their loved ones, fulfilling a great purpose, or doing something redemptive for mankind.

Remember this: if you refuse to relinquish what you’ll never understand and the things you cannot change, you’ll miss out on the joy of today and hope for the future. Living life by looking in the rearview mirror brings emotional pain. Regretting the past and fearing the future brings only torment. A life you can’t relive isn’t worth sacrificing for what you can’t change.

God Wants to Use Your Unanswered Questions to Build Faith

If you’re like I have been, you’re probably convinced that the only way you’ll ever experience peace about the past is for God to answer all your whys, hows, and what-fors. Remember, though, that God has your best interest at heart. That doesn’t mean He’s going to answer every one of your questions; He may not—and for good reason.

Hebrews 11:3 says, “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command.” In her Bible study Living Beyond Yourself Beth Moore writes:

What this passage is saying is that there will never be enough conclusive evidence to all humankind that He [God] is the Creator. He has ordained that some questions remain unanswered to force the issue of faith.

In the same way that God will not answer all our questions about His role as Creator so He can force the issue of faith, neither will He answer all our inquiries about the past or personal pain.

If God answered all of our questions, how would our faith be strengthened? There are never enough answers to satisfy a fear-filled heart.

Choosing to trust God in spite of our questions changes us from insecure to secure, from fearful to confident, from ungrateful to grateful. It’s faith that transforms us into peaceful, confident children of God who are secure in the mighty love of God, even when He’s silent.

Will you trust Him today with what you don’t understand?

*Excerpted in part from Betrayed by God? Making Sense of Your Expectations, by Shana Schutte, 2010, Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City.

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