From age to age, the most asked question by every person from every culture throughout history has been, “why?”.
Philosophers, scientists, politicians, parents, news-watchers and star-gazers, and all those who struggle at times, want to know why. Why did this thing happen? Why do people do that to others? Why does life happen as it does? Why does cause turn into effect? Why am I like this? Why war? Why theft? Why abuse? Why suffering? Why pain? Why death? Why now? Why me?
The question always reaches into the deep past to try and explain the present experience and impending future. Reach back far enough, and the question ultimately forms the cry, “Why God?”
Why does God do what he does, allow whatever happens, and cause life to impact me in hard ways? Why God? Why?
In truth, God always acts principally for his glory. But that is not an answer to our need to know why? Our question is more personal, more individual, more differentiating.
It is a question that must be answered. Indifference is not an option for anyone. If we can’t find a suitable answer, then we are compelled to make one up.
The answer, “because I said so” is a common fill-in. The popular advertisement, “do what feels good”, is another fake answer of self-worship. Setting up pagan gods of human creative origin is yet another vain attempt at feeling forced to answer our why questions. Labeling those who look or act different from ourselves as the cause of our problems, results in an empty holocaust of abuse, that never erases the void of inadequacy at answering our own whys.
Sexual promiscuity foolishly attempts to fill the “why do I desire” question. Striking out at others, or strapping on a gun, are immature attempts to answer the “why do I threaten people to stay alive” question. Popping a few more pills is often a shameful answer to “why am I in pain” question. Often, depression is a debilitating response to the empty answers to grief or self-assessment.
We need answers that work. One way or another, we are driven to fill in the blank.
Very often, God speaks to humanity through parables. He says that he chooses to do this in order that most people will not be able to find satisfying answers to their why questions. Most will be left frustrated, empty, hungry, and in desperate need to try and answer their big why question with something that might dull the ache.
Relief can only ever be found in God’s direct answer. There are numerous hints in Scripture, for those blessed with the insight to recognize them. But, if you want a clear answer, you will need to listen very carefully.
Jesus told his faithful disciples that there would come a time that he would stop speaking in riddles and would tell them plainly about his Father. The irony is that, although his words are clear, and he often explains what he means in his parables, the Bible still cannot be rightly understood by scholarly study or educated review. The things of God can only be understood through the Spirit of God, such that the meanings will always slip past those who think they understand the words, but who don’t listen and respond as commanded upon believers.
If you are one of those who desires to know God’s answer to your question—to your plea of “Why O’ Lord?”—then ask your Savior to reveal his truth as recorded in Acts:
“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.
God is God and there is no other source behind life or who can answer humanity’s longing for Why. Our extreme dependency, set in contrast to God’s absolute independence, is the basic reason for our universal need to find answers. God intentionally designed us this way from the very beginning.
“From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.
Creation is an answer to God’s declaration. Human existence is a result of God’s purpose. Nations arise when and where he determines and are not a by-product of random or dominant politics. Life happens as it happens, because God set it up that way. So WHY?
WHY GOD HAVE YOU DONE THIS?
“God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being.” (Act 17:24-27)
Why _____ ? So that you would seek him!
Whether good or bad, whether desired or feared: God does what he does, so that you and I, who are compelled to seek answers whether we like it or not, will focus that longing to know why toward drawing closer to him.
God is not in the business of fast-food answers. You can’t go through a drive-up-window, and request an answer with your order of fries. There would be no need for faith then. If you want to know why to something, press into him, read his word often, participate in his body the Church, and seek him with all your heart.
God really, really wants to answer your whys at the right time, but we must understand that the reason we are wired to desperately need to know why, is so that we will pursue satisfaction somehow, some way. Either we will find it by leaning into him, day-by-day; or, we will impatiently rebel and try to fill that painful void with artificial fillers.
It was that deceptive snake in the garden of Eden that first tempted humanity to reach out for our own and “be like God, knowing” all the answers. Unrestrained cherry-picking always results in sour grapes for those impatient with answers in due season.
Those who refuse to repent and seek him, not only hurt themselves, they push pain on the rest of us. God allows the abuse of others to impact his faithful, for the same reason he allows his faithful to wrestle against their own short-comings: to seek him. He has already gained every victory that needs to occur, so nothing happens outside of his purposes. Everything moves at his will. He gives added protection and peace to his followers, but they are not immune from struggles. We all need to seek him and mature in that.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your [Why] requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phi 4:6-7)
Real, true, satisfying answers can only ever come as a gift from God. They also will come to us typically in layers, over time, with interactive maturity as we make it our life’s practice to seek and pursue his glory. Seeking him, in prayer and with our life choices, is only the first part of God’s intended answer, but it is the most important reason at this point for each of us.
God does what he does, allowing life to occur as it does, so that we would be compelled to seek him throughout our time on this blue sphere. The rest of the answer to our specific whys will come like layers of baklava, drenched in syrupy goodness through eternity.