So last week I blogged about how in the recent past I have been on a sulking mood (you can read more on this here). As I have attempted to get out of this sulking season, one of the things I have had to deal with is the why question.
It is not the first time I am struggling with this question, I suspect neither is it the last time; but an important question in my mind anyway.
Ok let me explain what the ‘why question’ is. It is that very disturbing feeling that I get when I don’t understand why bad things happen to good people. It is the question I find myself asking God when I have waited for so long for an answer from the Lord on something that’s troubling me; ‘why is it taking so long to sort me out’ – afterall Your Word says if I believe, anything I ask in your name I will receive. It’s the ‘why did You allow this to happen to me’ question. It is the Lord why I am I going through these troubles?
These are hard questions. If you are like me, more often than not you will ask these questions while weeping – note the word is weeping and not crying.
He’s a compassionate God
However, I thank God for His Grace, that it is sufficient in any moment. That even when we are faithless, He remains faithful, that He is such a compassionate God – for this reason my pains ache Him as well.
This week we were going through the story of Lazarus death; how when Jesus saw how sad Mary and the crowd with her were from Lazarus’ death, He was moved with compassion. Jesus wept; the famous shortest verse.
This is such a reminder of His compassion. He wept as He saw the sadness in these people’s eyes. Their sadness moved Him. He saw it and He felt it. That encourages me.
The search for logical answers
But perhaps my best answer to the why question is from the book of John 9.
It is the story of the blind man. This man had been born blind. When Jesus and disciples saw this blind man, the disciples asked Jesus ‘who committed the sin that caused this man to be born blind; is it this man or is it his parents?’
This was a why question – they basically were asking why was this man born blind, what wrong had been done for him to be born blind? They needed a logical answer for the pain of this man to make sense. They therefore constructed one in their heads and offered to help Jesus with this question – is it the parents, they asked, or is it himself.
I find many times we do the same thing. We want logical answers.
What did I do so that I miscarried that child? Could it be the sins I committed before I knew the Lord? What did I do to lose a husband at such a young age, could it be because I did not love the Lord enough? A friend of mine recently told me how her family has been on their case coz many years later they have been unable to conceive a child. The family has concluded it is because she married someone they did not entirely approve of – they are reinforcing their logical answer. Or if you are like me, you could ask why is Mr Right so elusive, could it be because I was picky when I was younger? Or others ask why did my mother pass away after I had prayed for her well-being for so long, why yet I serve you with all my heart?
We like logical answers. We like for the why question to have very logical answers.
But the answer these disciples got, the answer I get so many times when I ask God this question is this, ‘imagine it has nothing to do with any sin this man or his parents committed, it was so that God may be revealed through what happens to him”.
Let me walk us thorough one more person who asked the hard why questions.
A man called Job who had gone through the mountains and valleys. Sadly he was a good man so he resorts to asking these same questions, why Lord? “Why doesn’t the Almighty bring the wicked to judgment? Why must the godly wait for him in vain?” and he goes on and on.
God lets him rant on and on. The he responds. The response is a sobering kind of response.
“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it?” and there is a lot more ‘telling off’.
Basically God tells Job who are you to question my judgment. Were you there when I did this that or the other.
Now if you put yourself in Job’s shoes, after all the ranting, what he wants to hear from the Lord is not this answer, he wants logical explanations. But perhaps this answer is as logical as it comes, where was I when God created this universe? With all my intelligence how many days can I add to my life when my time comes? Oh wait again, where was I when He determined where oceans end. Well, with all these answers I can only look down, draw maps with my feet if possible.
This is what God is saying, I am sovereign – period.
This answer is a hard answer for many to reconcile with, especially my generation. It does not add up. But at the core of it all is this, He is God. He alone is God. He alone is God.
I was blind but now I see
Back to the blind man’s story, Jesus heals this blind man. The blind man goes to the village and now all the villagers want to know how he got his eyesight back. Sadly they do not believe in Jesus so they are really questioning this blind man.
But I love the responses of this now sighted man when tell him that Jesus is not from God. This man says ‘I don’t know about what you think…what I know is this, I was blind but now I see’.
On further prodding by this people, this man asks them ‘How can a man who is a sinner perform such miraculous signs”. This earns him an ex-communication from the synagogue.
But I love Jesus response at this point – He goes looking out for this formerly blind man. He woos him and the conversation ends with a man who not only physically sees but whose spiritual eyes are now open as well. God’s glory is visible in this man’s life. So why was he born blind, the answer is in this last few minutes – for God’s glory.
My blinded state
One of the things I love about this story is this response – I was blind but now I see. It encourages my why question. This Lord sees start to end and if He says it is for His glory, then for His glory it needs to be.
I remember struggling with this question a couple of years back, I had broken up with a guy that I was convinced was my ‘soulmate’. Dude was the best thing that ever happened to me, or at least I thought. So when the relationship ended I had such hard questions for God. I could not get why He had let things go as far as they had if it was never to work out. Why not just spare me the pain. It was such a battle. But years later I look back and I know without a doubt that the relationship not only needed to happen but it also needed to end. In the process I had gone through the fires and emerged with a new faith in this Lord. Like this blind man I can say I don’t know about all these questions but I know this, ‘I was blind but now I see’.
So today as I struggle with the newest set of why questions, I am convinced it shall be well. I am convinced I serve a God who is able and willing to sort me out. I am convinced I would not have it any other way other than His way. I am convinced He will work it all out for my good. I am convinced it is all for His glory. So I sing:
“Here I am down on my knees again surrendering all…..Find me here Lord as You draw me near….I am desperate for You…Drench my soul as mercy and grace unfold I hunger and thirst for You…I surrender…I want to know You more I want to know You more”