Maybe “Why?” Is the Wrong Question


When we start asking “who” instead of asking "why," we find that the pain we face doesn’t rule out an all-powerful and loving God so much as an all-powerful and loving God rules over pain.

The sense that things aren’t fair ricochets around our planet every second of every day. It even shows up at my house. My daughter, Emma, will say of her brother, “Ethan picked the movie last week, and if he gets to pick again it’s not fair!”

I’ll hear, “Emma had two chocolates earlier, and if I don’t get another it’s not fair.”

I’ll say, “I took out the trash last time. It’s Mom’s turn or it’s not fair!” (Okay, I don’t have the guts to say this, but I do think it.)

These are small things, but we question the fairness of big things, too. We look at the larger world and wonder, Why doesn’t God stop the tsunami before it rolls over thousands of men, women, and children? Why doesn’t he prevent the tornado from plowing through a home filled with good people? Why doesn’t he stop earthquakes and mudslides and falling bridges? Or terrorist attacks and child abuse and drunk drivers?

This week millions of people lost power and property because of Hurricane Sandy. Some even lost their lives.

And this week we’re asking why. But in the Bible, God responds by giving us a new question. After Job—who suffered the loss of his children, his business, his health and his friends—asked the why question, God responded, “Who then is able to stand against me? Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me” (Job 41:11).

The fundamental question, according to the Bible, is “Who?” Who will we trust in the calamities and challenges of life? Who will we turn to in the reality of our pain? Who is worthy of our trust?

When we start asking “who”, we find that pain doesn’t rule out an all-powerful and loving God so much as an all-powerful and loving God rules over pain. After all, even if you get the “Why?” question answered, it’s not likely to make the pain of losing a loved one or the difficulty in finding work suddenly go away. But if we know who is mighty to save and loving enough to do it in ways we usually don’t expect, we can see our pain and suffering in a new light. And then we can go on to deal with it in the here and now.

Whether you’re a victim of the recent hurricane or recovering from another of life’s storms, this week I’m praying you’ll connect with the Who that brings comfort and healing. No matter what you’re facing, He is big enough to handle it.

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