Life’s Toughest Question
A busy traffic intersection handles thousands of vehicles without incident until, without warning, the next two cars collide in a fearsome crash. If we’re in one of the cars we want to know, “Why? Why not the cars before me or after me?” A category four tornado hopscotches through town and takes only three houses out of a neighborhood of fifty. If ours is one of the three, we ask, “Why? Why my house?” A high school scholar-athlete-leader gets struck down by leukemia and we ask, “Why? Why someone with such great potential?”
“Why?”—life’s toughest question—has been asked for as long as humans have lacked understanding. And while we think it is a question only children ask (“Why did my gerbil die?”), even spiritually mature adults ask it frequently as well (and they probably wonder it even more often than they are brave enough to ask). The more perplexing or painful the event, the more likely the answer is found rooted in the purpose and plans of God.
Jesus’ disciples asked him once about a man who was born blind. The rabbinic theology of the day required that the cause be found in either the man’s sin or that of his parents. But Jesus told them such simplistic reasoning was not behind the “Why?” of the man’s blindness. Rather, Jesus said, the answer is deeper: “This man is blind so that God’s work might be displayed in him.” And then Jesus proceeded to do God’s work and restore the man’s sight. If we drew the conclusion that God’s work is always to heal the infirm, we might miss other works which he does in difficult circumstances—like giving supernatural grace to accident victims to fight for life; like moving neighbors to reach out with love and generosity to tornado victims who’ve just lost everything; like taking away the fear of a cancer victim who is walking through the valley of the shadow of death.
God’s works are many. For every “Why?” that is asked, if no specific answer is known, a work of God will probably be revealed. Our challenge is to remember that there are no accidents with God—only divinely-orchestrated opportunities by which his works of grace and power are revealed.
God’s Promise to You: “I allow the ‘Why’s’ in life to reveal my ways and my works.”
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