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Why God, Why?
In a most recent new sermon I recorded about overcoming worry and fear and even disappointment with God we sometimes feel – I talked about how we so often wish we could sit down with YHVH our God and just ask, “WHY?”
We want to ask why He didn’t intervene and stop a terrible event. Why did He allow your son or daughter to die – and why did he allow the suffering to go on for so long? “Father, why can’t I find a job? Why aren’t you healing my cancer” or “why was I born deaf, or blind, or mute, why?” … fill in the blank. So many “why” questions. I hope you will carefully read this blog. It can change your life, I promise.
In this blog I just want to say a couple more things and explain why dwelling on the “Why, God?” question and frame of mind can be devastating to our faith and joy. I will also explain about what we should do instead.
The “Why” question is certainly commonly found even in the Psalms and it’s stated or implied throughout the Bible. So it’s “common to man” to ask this question.
We certainly see this in Psalms 22:1 – My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me?” and in verse 2 the psalmist implies “why” by asking why his God wasn’t hearing his pleas for help. And as we continue in the Psalms, we read over and over implied statements of David feeling unheard. Psalm 4:1 – he pleads with Almighty God to “hear my prayer”. David at least gets it right when he has these questions – he usually later in that psalm of wondering where God is, states he has confidence God will hear his cry.
Psalm 27 is another psalm where David strongly implies frustration with not hearing more directly from his Maker. “Do not hide your face from me …do not leave me or forsake me, O God of my salvation” (verse 9). But throughout he goes back and forth between questioning and reassuring himself with God’s promises.
Watch for these as you read through David’s psalms and prayers. In Psalm 39:12 he says “Hear my prayer, Yehovah, …do not be silent at my tears; I’m a stranger with you…” So we feel David’s frustration at times, and perhaps this is why so many people relate to the Psalms. It’s as if David is expressing our own thoughts.
But focusing on the “Why, God?” question can also be fraught with danger.
Click here on “Continue reading” to learn why I feel dwelling on this question is not productive – and potentially very dangerous.
First – the obvious. I hope this is obvious: we’ve all experienced so many times when God did intervene, did heal, did stop a disaster, and did answer prayer. So please understand I realize that. I’m even looking forward to someday talking with my assigned angel to learn of all the times when our God was protecting us and our loved ones and we weren’t even aware of those times. So I get that.
Yes, I believe in the expressions of “God is good. All the time. All the time, God is good.” I believe that. But when you’re holding your dead child in your arms, it becomes so much harder to say those expressions with feeling. But we must.
The older I get and the closer I become to my God, the more I realize that dwelling on “Why, God?” can be so dangerous. It’s OK if you move off from that question, as King David usually does in his psalms. But why is it potentially so dangerous?
If we have just gone through a terrible ordeal – and God obviously allowed you to go through it – if we just dwell on the fact that God appeared to do nothing, and allowed the catastrophe, what happens? We can end up feeling very disappointed with God. We ponder that he could have stopped the disaster, but didn’t. He could have healed, but didn’t. He could have orchestrated events to avoid the disaster, but didn’t. He could have kept that lightning from striking your home, but didn’t. You get the idea. The death spiral into feeling God isn’t so good, God will abandon me from time to time –these death spiral thoughts begin to swirl in our heads. These are potentially havens for Satan’s thinking to get into our heads.
Did you know even the great prophet Jeremiah got to the point where he felt totally abandoned by God and that God wasn’t keeping His word? Read it for yourself in several versions -- Jeremiah 15:15-18. He calls GOD an “unreliable stream, and waters that fail!” – in verse 18. God has to rebuke Jeremiah and tell him to repent, to return (vs. 19-21). So these kinds of thoughts are normal – but don’t stay in them.
I have so much to be thankful for. So do you. Every breath I take is a gift from my Father in heaven. Every morsel of food is from him. But when we focus on WHY – it can end with thoughts of God letting us down. With disappointment with our Maker.
I have a sermon on this website titled “When God Disappoints”. I recorded that shortly after wondering WHY God allowed the lightning strike and the damage from that, and then a second one a year later. I did find out we were living in what locals called “Lightning alley” – and there were literally hundreds of homes and properties hit over time in that area. Yes, we moved. Not primarily for that, but that factored in the decision to move, believe me. But in my sermon I discuss the frustration and disappointment and how I had to repent of my mood.
My thinking was wrong. Do you want to know how to discern if you’re into some Stinking Thinking? Just check your moods lately. What have your emotions been lately? Your moods will tell you what you’ve been focused on. And focusing on “WHY GOD” will definitely change your moods and thoughts and emotions to one of disappointment and depression. You’ll even feel abandoned by God at times. David was a man of strong emotions – up and down. And David often questioned God – but David also knew how to get out of the mood swing.
What David does over and over is this: when he begins with wondering where God was, why did he allow this or that, why am I not hearing from him – he doesn’t stay there. HE DOESN’T LINGER on those thoughts. He moves on to variations of this: “Though he isn’t answering me right now, I know he hears me, I know he’ll watch over me, and I know I can trust him, for He cares for me.”
Psalm 54:2 – “HEAR my prayer, Elohim (O God); v 4—God is my helper… v.6-7—he ends with praising God who has delivered him out of trouble.
Psalm 55:1-8 – David wants some answers. He is feeling chest pains and terrors and he’s trembling in fear (verses 4-5). Later in the psalm he even feels vengeful against his enemies. But by V. 16—“As for me, I will call on God, and Yehovah shall save me…”
What did David just do in those kinds of sequences? He got off of the “Why, God” focus of his thoughts to remembering and focusing on the goodness and faithfulness of his Maker.
The whole book of Job is about “Why, God?” – either from Job or his “friends”. Most of the time, it seemed clear to his friends that Job must have brought it on by being an evil man somewhere in his life. So often we feel the same. We start thinking like this: “Our baby was miscarried because we sinned”. Or, our home was struck because God was angry with me over a sin I have. But that wasn’t the case with Job, was it?
Job did say something beautiful, though tainted with some self-righteousness: “Though He slay me, yet will I trust him” – that part was good (Job 13:15), but then he spoils it a bit by adding, “Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him”. (interpretation: I don't deserve all this He has allowed to come upon me.”)
So – please remember this. And remind ME of this too when I get down- as I do from time to time:
We don’t need to know WHY. We don’t. We just have to know WHO it is with whom we walk.
We don’t have to know when, what, how, or why. Just WHO. And trust Him, trust Him, trust Him.
This applies to ANY and ALL of the “unanswered prayers” and situations you face. Give Him time. Our Father’s will, His thoughts, His reasons for doing what he’s doing often just don’t make sense to us – but someday will.
When we see how it all comes together in the end, it will all finally make sense. Trust Him. Trust Him. Trust Him. Maybe one day we can end up like Paul and Silas, who after being locked up in chains in a dingy dungeon, with bleeding stripes from their lashing, began to pray and sing psalms and to praise – instead of asking “Where were YOU, God?”. And it was IN THAT PRAISING that a huge miracle took place. Read it for yourself in Acts 16:22-24. It was in this crisis, a painful one, that God brought Paul to the jailer and his family who became saved believers that same night. Please take time to read that story. It’s one of my favorites. There’s a song called “I bless your name” that goes into this. Beautiful song by Selah. I play it often. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HQ5q0BwPjk
So quit dwelling on the “WHY, God?” question. Be like Paul and Silas, and praise instead. This story was after midnight. When is your situation darkest?
What is your midnight hour trial? When you find yourself in a prison of your mind – reach out and praise, defy those chains. Praise, sing, bless. Get off the “Why, God” question – and watch how your mood changes. Watch how you increase the odds that God will now intervene for you.
That’s part of the reason He puts us into asking “why, God?” questions. To help us to learn – we don’t need to know why. We just need to know WHO – and so start praising. Trust Him, trust Him, trust Him.
And do you want to know WHO God is? Watch this YouTube from Eric Ludy, from Bravehearted Christian Productions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NscHCa395-M
Focus on HIM and you will come through your trials and pain and fears with victory.
And do hear my sermon in May 2017 “Victorious over fear and worry”. http://www.lightontherock.org/index.php/message/victorious-over-fear-and-worry/listen
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