“God Why?” – Answering the Difficult Question We All Dare to Ask
Why does God give children cancer? Why are there starving children? Why does God allow war, hunger, pain, and death? Why did my spouse leave me? Why am I suffering? Why is there so much injustice in the world? Why am I going through this when I’ve done no wrong? Why?
Why, why, why…
I’ve asked this question many times in my life – both before and after I received Christ. There are times when I still ask it. I would safely bet that you have asked it, too.
We all have.
It’s the million dollar question we all want answered. This is one of the most common questions mankind can mutter. And we ask it so sincerely. “God why?”
In this post, I’ll be answering the difficult question we all dare to ask by addressing this question’s common core, which revolves around the injustice, pain, and death so very present in this world. Because sometimes the answers are obscure. They are hidden in the mysteries beyond our reach, which only God can know. And for those who dare ask Him, He longs to answer. When we ask God it serves as evidence in our faith that He indeed exists. We would never ask if we did not believe there was a God of righteousness, justice, and all-consuming love who could prevent it from happening. Yet for those things we cannot explain, there remains an explanation for those who truly desire it. Not only does God have the answer – let us remember: He is the answer.
An Accurate Picture of God
This is where our journey begins. It doesn’t begin with the question. Rather, it begins with the One we so sincerely address – the only One who can truthfully answer the proposed question.
Understanding who God is, and who we are in relation to Him, is where the fundamentals begin. If you don’t believe that God is a just, righteous, all-powerful, loving God, then any answer God gives you will immediately be flawed. It is no longer an answer that is trustworthy. He’s not worth your time, and He’s not a God you’d want to serve. So we must establish His providence, power, and character up front. Our foundation for understanding those things that take place in this world that so oppress and trouble us must come from the One true living God who loves us unconditionally, forgives us lavishly, and has given extravagantly to save a desperate and dying world. That truth must be our reference point if we are going to accept the answer He gives. Otherwise, He’s not worth asking, and we’re wasting our breath.
So let’s boldly ask again: “God why?” Because you must know, this is not a question He despises. In fact, He welcomes it. He invites us to ask of Him. We are instructed to ask. So go ahead and ask Him. I encourage you to ask, and if you haven’t already, take a moment of private silence and ask Him…
What, precisely, are those questions you need an answer for? What, exactly, is plaguing your heart?
And now here is my question to you:
Are you ready for the answer?
A Broken Path
Contrary to popular belief, it is brokenness that often leads us to God – the One who can ultimately save us. Those who never experience pain, destitution, trouble, or hardship, are often spoiled beyond their willingness or need to seek God. An easy life can actually plunge someone into selfish and vain living if they are not spiritually mature enough to handle it. Consequently, their lives can end up spiritually bankrupt. To put it simply, those who don’t believe – believe they don’t need Him. That need has not yet been awakened as a reality in their personal life. When everything is going smooth and flowing fine, God is not required. It’s when catastrophe hits that people suddenly realize their desperation and ineptitude to handle the disproportionate issues that demand a higher power. Only then do we begin to gravitate heavenward. This is the human condition. The deception in this life is that we are just fine without God – until we are faced with a situation that demands Him – at which time we are painfully proven wrong.
We are NEVER fine without God.
A blessed life requires spiritual maturity if we are to steward it wisely and well. Too much ease can create a spiritually sedentary condition which entirely opposes the purposes and plans of God. In fact, it can actually thwart them. The more we have = the more we are responsible for. Jesus spoke consistently of the cares of this life and how they choke the fruit of the word in the life of the hearer. It is very easy to become burdened with the things of this world. That is not to imply that God wants us to suffer lack or does not desire to bless us. Quite the contrary. However, the human condition requires a proper rearing of God for those who would live an abundant life in Christ while here on earth. Otherwise that abundance can often be squandered upon self.
God, who is perfect LOVE, is not afraid to let us suffer for the sake of finding Him so He may heal us and make us whole. From His divine eternal perspective, your eternal life in the grand scheme of things, is of primary concern to Him above all else. A soul saved from sin and death is, therefore, a happy one. Any suffering endured while on this earth is merely temporal. It will pass away. It’s seasonal. Therefore, an eternal perspective is essential to living a spiritually abundant life in Christ. Our lives are not measured by those things that are destined to perish here on earth. Our lives are measured by those things that cannot be taken from us: the wealth and treasure of Christ and all He’s possessed for us in His eternal kingdom. We must learn to live with a perspective beyond our present life here on earth if we are going to live it wisely and well. Otherwise, the worries and cares of this life can delude us with anxieties and fears which truly have no power against us. In Christ, we are promised to prevail, overcoming all these things, even upon pain of death. Why? Because eternal life is of such magnificence, it is beyond comprehension or description. It is the true life for which we all wait, and for which we all hope. Life here, apart from any promise of eternity with Christ, is horrific indeed.
The Power of Choice
And so who is responsible for the pain, death, and gruesome turmoil that every single one of us are subject to on a daily basis?
Is it God?
God, who is perfect, never created evil. Nor did He author sin. He cannot tempt, nor can He be tempted with sin. Therefore, when we look for the origin of such, we must consider an enemy of God, and of humankind. For these things we can only ascribe due honor to the enemy of God – that principality and power – who deceives the entire world. His name is Satan. To think that God would deliberately subject His beloved children to pain and death is not only unbiblical, but it is heretical. Therefore, we must address the issue of free will, which God will not transgress. The author of pain and death is not God. It is sin. And the author of sin is Satan – that angel of light who was cast out of heaven.
Part of being made in God’s image was in being given the power to choose.
Therefore evil had to be given an opportunity to present itself. What happened in the Garden of Eden was not unjust. In fact, it was necessary. We must understand that Adam and Eve were given all authority over the earth and every creature therein. God gave them a clear and unbridled command to subdue the earth. No one forced them to sin. They chose to disobey. So let’s look at how that happened.
The enemy lied, and through clever deception Eve chose to disobey. But why? We see a pattern here: Satan, who had no authority at all, was able to tempt Eve with a deceptive lie that played upon her own ignorance, insecurity, and innate desire to be like God, and to know good and evil. This awakened a desire in her to obtain what she already had. Eve was already like God. As for good and evil – Eve did not even know what evil was. Therefore, she presumed she must need to know. This unknown thing became something desirable. I doubt that Eve ever could have sincerely wanted to know evil if she understood what it truly was. Satan plays the same game today that he did then. Yet for those who are in Christ, that authority has been fully restored to us. We overcome sin, the flesh, the world, and Satan through the finished work of Jesus Christ. The key to walking in that authority and power is to know who we are in Him, what He’s accomplished in us and for us, knowing the truth of His word, and walking in it obediently.
We cannot obey God’s word, or believe God’s word, if we do not know it.
The power of choice at this juncture is therefore hindered,
and humankind defaults to sin.
We simply know no better or any different.
Those who are ignorant of God and His word are, therefore, at a great disadvantage.
Part of being made in God’s very image includes the ability to choose, and we are therefore granted the responsibility of free will – which God absolutely will not transgress in any individual’s life. Although He is God, He gives us the right to turn away from Him. He gives us the right to rebel, disobey, and take our own path – all for which there are consequences (both physical and spiritual). And as any loving parent does, He has carefully outlined and defined those consequences for us. Some, we may balk at with childish misunderstanding and naiveté – even as we do our earthly parents’ rules. We don’t understand why or how something could be wrong in God’s eyes. Yet neither do we understand just how far-reaching are its effects, or the inherent power of our actions or words. Nor do we see the spiritual implications behind them. We merely see the temporal and finite outcome, which is often an inaccurate representation of what truly happens in the spiritual realm. For those who live a seemingly blessed but sinful life – they are in for a rude awakening.
When an individual knowingly participates in sin, doors to the enemy are opened in the spirit realm that adversely affect their lives in numerous ways: including demonic oppression, sickness, disease, and not to mention spiritual death.
However, God wants a relationship with individuals who choose Him – not out of obligation, but by a pure motivation of love. The one who chooses to serve God out of genuine love for Him – because of who He is and what He’s done for them – is the one who discovers the incredible intimacy He bestows, as well as the eternal and spiritual blessings that make for an abundant life here, as well as in eternity.
And so we are plagued with free will. We stumble over it continually. The enormity of that which God has entrusted to us is astounding. The moral and spiritual responsibility of free will is enormous. Yet trying to control someone with free will defeats its purpose entirely. In fact, it’s counter-productive for the individual who must learn how to make wise decisions and choices. Control disables an individual. They are no longer free. Christ made it clear that truth is what sets us free. Control will never create intimacy or a moral being. It creates rebellion. Ask any parent. Even the two or three year old is incorrigible. Despite our earnest attempts to guide them into health and wholeness; life and peace – they willfully transgress. And they do it boldly. We were created to be free, and anything we perceive to hinder that freedom, we will rebel against.
So what does the loving parent do? They establish boundaries. They plug every empty outlet. They barricade the stairs. They put rails on the bed. They put a fence in the yard. And they teach TRUTH and LIVE by example. Because despite even their most loving and earnest attempts, their beloved children will play with outlets, tumble down the stairs, fall out of bed, run into the street, and rebel against their word – all the while never grasping the reality and severity of the consequences for their actions.
And so it is with us and God. He is often misunderstood and misjudged in His loving attempt to guide us into truth and liberty.
We simply do not understand His world – this one in which we presently dwell – and most definitely not the one in which He resides. And so God does what any loving parent would do. He draws boundaries. Very strict boundaries, in fact – not because He’s mean-spirited, but because He painfully loves us. God is not into controlling anyone. Instead, He’s given us extravagant liberty. But that does not make Him a permissive parent. He has given us His word and divine instruction, much of which we may not initially understand, because His laws are deeply spiritual. Those laws affect our souls as well as our physical lives here on earth in profound and mysterious ways. The spiritual realm has a direct relationship to the physical realm over individuals, families, neighborhoods, cities and nations. Therefore, He’s gone to great lengths to establish spiritual boundaries for us, providing us safety and security so that we may live prosperous lives of peace and dwell in His presence with His blessing. If we transgress, consequences are often painful, severe, and bewildering. Can He save us? Absolutely. He does so everyday in ways you’ll never know. He’s constantly working on our behalf behind the scenes just as any loving parent who prepares a beautiful, safe and secure world for their vulnerable and immature child. Those preparations are tedious and often very expensive. Yet what we need to truly be saved from is ourselves. And that is precisely the salvation He has accomplished for us in Christ. He lived the perfect life for us, because we never could – and He died the gruesome death for us that we so justly deserved.
The price our Father has paid to redeem us from this fallen world, and from ourselves, cost Him absolutely everything. He spared no expense. We do not realize the assignment Christ was given to accomplish, and how all of heaven and earth teetered upon His obedience. The price our heavenly Father paid to redeem us in the atoning sacrifice of His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, is beyond words. And because He overcame death, hell, the world, sin and Satan we are granted that same inheritance in Him through simple childlike faith. All He asks is that we simply believe Him.
Yet we still behave as children, don’t we? We do things God says not to do. We fail to obey even our own conscience, how much more the words of Almighty God. Our tongues slip. Our emotions get the best of us. We make bad decisions. We make foolish mistakes. We live selfishly. And the consequences, although meticulously outlined, often remain obscure to us for our lack of understanding, and especially unclear for those who do not believe, who live recklessly, taking no heed to God or His word.
As a result, we deal with the “shrapnel” from the lives of those around us who explode with pain and proverbial debris. We are struck and injured. Horrible things happen. Grievous things. Despicable things. And these are things that trouble us precisely because they are not of God. We are all vulnerable to sin, especially that of others, although we may be walking with the LORD.
So we must understand the spiritual paradox at work – that although we inherently recognize good from evil, and wrong from right, for which we eagerly desire justice, we continue to give them license. Why? Because we are all diseased with sin (see Matthew 9:12, 13). We all falter – some of us worse than others. Therefore, God cautions us to be mindful of the company we keep.
There are consequences. And to be frank, some of us never learn. We are insubordinate and repetitive in our sins. We are destined to spiritual recidivism, hence our need for the lavish salvation Christ offers.
Let’s ascribe the due honor to whom it belongs – both for righteousness and sin.
The Issue of Blame
So we look for those we can blame, and when there is no one to whom we can point the finger, we naturally blame the One who is all-powerful: GOD. He takes the rap. He catches the heat. He’s our default. The perfect, sinless, holy, just, righteous, loving, all-powerful God is falsely accused every single day by His own creation for things He never authored, performed, or for which He never gave permission or license.
So who do we blame? Blame speaks directly to responsibility. So who is responsible? That is what we are really asking.
Are we responsible for our actions and the consequences thereof? Are we responsible for much of the pain and suffering in this world? We cannot blame Satan who has no power or authority over us. Are we willing to examine ourselves before a holy God and take an account for our running in the street, playing with electrical outlets, tumbling down the stairs, falling out of bed, and disobeying our Father’s divine and loving instruction? Are we willing to take responsibility for the words we speak, the decisions we deliberately make, the poor choices we choose, and the mistakes that characterize our human condition? Are we willing to take responsibility for not seeking God? Are we going to take responsibility for the things we put in our mouth, as well as the things that come out of it? Are we willing to take responsibility for the things we open our eyes and ears to, the money we spend, the company we keep, and the aspirations we invest in? Are we willing to take responsibility for the sins we commit that open a spiritual floodgate for the enemy and his demonic powers in which things manifest that are beyond our understanding? Are we willing to order our lives according to God’s ways; His plans, and His divine purposes? Are we willing to seek Him daily, asking Him to reveal those things which we do not know, so that we may learn of Him and be led safely by His Spirit, being spared from those who do evil, and the powers that be?
We have a stewardship of responsibility granted to us. It’s enormous. The glory of God that should be manifested through our free will is extraordinarily powerful. We must wield it carefully. Using that free will toward sin is a gross error. Being created in the image of God, with an ability to choose, is a powerful thing for which we will all give an account.
These are all valid questions worthy of asking.
Let’s start asking the right questions.
There are consequences. We must learn that blame began in the Garden of Eden and it has not stopped since. We are children in dire need of divine parenting. Our loving heavenly Father is more than willing to teach us His ways, if we will only ask Him.
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: their feet are swift to shed blood: destruction and misery are in their ways: and the way of peace have they not known: there is no fear of God before their eyes. Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the alw: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, (Romans 3:10-24, KJV).
A Loving God of Justice
Christ will demand an account of every human soul. He will also recompense. He will repay. He will make all that is crooked, straight. He will make all that is rough, smooth. He will fill every valley, and level every mountain. He is the divine plumb line. Someday you’ll stand before Him and He’ll show you precisely why. But are you ready for His answer? Is your heart ready to hear from a holy God who loves you unconditionally, who is all-knowing, all-wise, and all-powerful?
Let’s consider our lives for a moment and how they intersect before we blame God – or the enemy, for that matter. Let’s consider the part we play. What if you were the reason for someone’s ailing question, “God why?” Are you prepared to give them an answer in that day when you will be called into account? Will you be able to justify the reason for your words or actions that caused them suffering or pain? Perhaps you were unaware, but that will not excuse your behavior.
These are the real questions we need to be asking ourselves.
We need to be considering why.
Why do I do what I do?
Why do I say what I say?
What is my motivation for the decisions I make?
Am I selfish?
We need to begin asking God, “Why?” we do what we do, with humble hearts that long for His divine parenting and intimate cleansing.
The Cure for Sin
Every one of us suffer. Sometimes those sufferings are very private, and they’re not necessarily visible to others. Christ has enormous compassion upon sinners, and this is precisely why He came: to save us from sin. We are clearly told that the sting of sin is death. Most who hear this immediately reckon that death to be an eternal one, or perhaps merely a physical one. And although that is true in both cases, I’d like to broaden your understanding, because death takes many forms. You can be very much alive and have an area in your soul or life that is suffering the pain of death – because of your sin, or the sin someone else has committed against you.
We all have a choice every single day. The LORD places before us life and death; blessing and cursing (see Deuteronomy 28-30).
THE LORD BIDS US TO CHOOSE LIFE.
There is only one cure, and that is Jesus Christ. He died for all of us, to redeem us from sin and death – our own as well as that of others. We are no longer slaves to sin, and therefore death has lost its sting (see Romans 6-8 and 1 Corinthians 15). Through His forgiveness we are redeemed from the curse of sin, which is death. And although that curse is still alive and well in the lives of many who live in this world, to which we are often vulnerable, He gives us victory over death every day when we choose to walk in fellowship with Him by His Spirit. He leads us in the paths of life. He leads us in the ways of righteousness. He will personally direct you toward or away from any particular situations or individuals that would cause you suffering or harm. When He speaks – listen. Because He sees what we cannot.
With that being said, I want to encourage every individual reading this post to begin asking God, “Why?” with a humble heart that is ready for His answer; not from a perspective of blame, but from a perspective of spiritual responsibility and accountability. Only then will we truly understand the source of our present suffering and the salvation He so graciously offers.
There are horrific injustices in this world. They are prolific and painful. And many of them were never even your fault. They are the result of sins committed against you, for which you are not responsible, except to forgive them. They are the result of spiritual consequences you may know nothing about, which are veiled from your human understanding.
Whatever the case may be, in all these things God longs to speak into your private situation with compassion and comfort. He longs to bring healing, wholeness, and restoration. For everyone who asks with a humble and contrite heart, He will surely give the answer. He is near to all those who would dare ask Him the pervasive and plaguing question, “God, why?”
Just know this – He is your answer.
Cheers & Shalom,