Nov 122013 7 Responses

Why God Doesn’t Say Why

“Why, God?”

It’s the question asked when the surgery goes wrong, when the bad news comes, or when the grief is overwhelming.

It’s the automatic response for the stunned mother, the shocking reflection from the unbeliever, the deep reflection from the skeptic.

“Why?”

Some would say it’s a question we should never ask.

The Atheist would say it is pointless because there is no explanation. The question ‘why’ implies a reason. It assumes order. If we came from no one and we are going no where, the question ‘why’ is a bad question because there is no one to whom the question can be asked and there is no reason which could ever be given.

The Agnostic would say it is pointless because we can never know the answer. Even if there is a God, the agnostic would say we could never know that God and therefore never hear from God. Asking ‘why’ implies that someone might answer the question and the agnostic doesn’t believe that could every happen.

The Religionist would say it is sinful because it shows a lack of faith. The question ‘why’ could imply doubt in God’s control or plan. It could set us apart from God. So no matter what a person feels, they should never admit they are wondering about what is happening in their lives and the world.

Yet the Bible tells a different story. “Why” is one of the common questions asked in Job, Psalms, from the minor prophets, and throughout all of Scripture. (See: How to Pray When Life’s Not Okay and How to Pray In the Dark)

There is nothing wrong with this question. If directed at God, it can be the most God-honoring of questions.

The Bible encourages us to ask the question ‘why,’ yet it also shows us that God rarely answers the question.

Why doesn’t God tell us why?

1. If God told us why, we wouldn’t fully understand. To think we could understand the complexity of God is foolish. His ways are not our ways. While we view life in a simple A causes B format, the Bible shows us that everything happens for a 1000 reasons. God is doing far more than we could every realize or understand.

2. If God told us why, we wouldn’t fully be satisfied. Even if God explained everything to us, it would not satisfy us. We would conceive of a “better” way for him to accomplish his goals which didn’t require us to suffer. We would be left wondering why he chose the way he chose.

So God encourages us to ask the question why, but rarely answers the question. Yet that does not mean God is silent toward us. God speaks and he answers, but instead of telling us ‘why,’ God tells us ‘who.’

God’s answer to our question of ‘why’ is almost always a reminder of ‘who’ He is.

The Book of Job is a primary example. Over and over again, Job pleads for understanding. In chapters 38–41 God answers Job, but instead of explaining why he has done what he has done, God reminds Job who God is.

Generally speaking, God comforts us in the midst of our ‘whys’ by reminding us ‘who’ He is:

1. God is sovereign. He rules over all of creation meaning he controls our best day and our darkest days. Nothing happens without at minimum God’s divine permission and at maximum God’s actual prompting. There is nothing which is beyond his sovereign control.

2. God loves you. While his sovereignty is important, it would not be a comfort to us without knowing that God also loves us. His love means that God’s sovereignty is good news for us. While we may not understand or appreciate everything which takes place, we can be certain that God is working all things together for our good.

When life doesn’t go our way, these are the only two things we need to know. They may not be the only things we want to know, but they are the only things we need to know in order to know how to respond. Trusting God’s sovereignty and knowing his love empowers us to face whatever might come our way.

When we know the Who we can face whatever why comes our way.

7 Responses to Why God Doesn’t Say Why
  1. Becky Fouts Reply

    It was so good to hear your sermon this Sunday in Van Buren. I often ask God Why. I struggle with this. I have a special needs child who will be 30 next week. Life gets me down. It’s been a hard road and I just don’t understand. I KNOW there is a plan. But, that doesn’t help me. I see my Sarah made fun of. I see her cry. Why are people so cruel??? One of my other daughters sent me a message you posted, I think in maybe March. About the R word. I very much appreciated this message. I always enjoy your sermons. We are trying to cope.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Thank you Becky. I’d love to get together sometime and hear your story.

  2. Becky Fouts Reply

    I would like that. It’s been so hard. Sarah has brain damage due to birth trauma and at age of 16 mental illness set in. So she is dual diagnosis. Has seizures. OCD to the point of misery. I lose faith at times. My heart breaks for her and her housemates. I do very much appreciate your reply.

  3. dennyneff Reply

    Thank you for pointing out the two reasons God doesn’t answer “why”. I had never thought of that though I have read and studied Isa. 55:8-9 dozens of times. It is true, should God provide an answer in all probability I would still not understand the “why” of it and for certain his answer would not satisfy my carnal mind. Believe it or not, your answer really is helpful to me because I have sought a reason for my being the way I am.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      That’s great to hear Denny. I think the why question is one that continually ebbs and flows throughout our lives, but hopefully it always causes us to learn more about God.

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