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April 20, 2010

Have you ever shaken your fists at the sky, demanding to know, “why?”

Have you ever been filled with anger that wells up in your gut and makes you want to scream? The kind of anger that comes from your soul, when the only question you seem to be able to ask is, “Why?!”

Why did he/she hurt me like that?

Why did this happen to me?

Why was I made this way?

Why can’t I find love?

Why, God?


Some people think “why?” questions are a sign of weakness. Asking why, they say, shows that you have no faith, that you don’t trust God in the midst of difficulty.

And yet, there is something so intrinsically human about the question, “why?” It’s a question that children ask, time after time after time. As a father of three kids under the age of five, you can trust me on this one.

Children ask the question, “why,” because they want to know why things are the way that they are. They want to understand, to hear your justification for the things you say. They want to see the relationships that govern their world. “Why” doesn’t make them weak, it empowers them.

Why do I have to eat my vegetables?

Why does rain fall from the clouds?

Why do I have to go to bed?

Why do bees like flowers?

Why can’t I climb that?

Why, Dad?


Perhaps “why” is a question that we should never be afraid to ask. Do we think it’s a question too big for God to answer, that somehow asking it will break Him and us along with Him? Did Jesus not cry out from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Just as children use the question to discover the relationships in everything they see or do, maybe asking “why” is essential to our relationship with God. Perhaps our relationship with God should be durable enough to handle the question “why?” After all, maybe “why” is just another way of saying,

“I give up.”

“I don’t understand.”

“I need you.”

The Only Wrong “Why” You Can Ever Ask
There is only one “why” question you can ever ask that is wrong:

Why me?

This is a question of victimhood, of self-proclaimed martyrdom that implies, in some way or another, that forces or circumstances have conspired against you for the purpose of harm.

It is a question that accuses, that diminishes relationship by pitting the individual against the divine. It does not seek understanding or explanation. It seeks pity and destroys the very relationship which can provide the only sufficient response.

So go, ask “why,” but resist the temptation to steep yourself in pity.

Pointing to the outside circumstances that cause us pain and dismay is just one of many excuses we use that keeps us from genuine transformation. All the while we sit in self pity, a beckoning God cries out, “I have come that you might have life, and that you might have it to the fullest” (John 10:10).

Photo Courtesy of Ian Kahn/Free Digital Photos

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Viny permalink
    April 22, 2010 4:38 am

    Interesting thoughts!



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