Perhaps the most challenging student of all is that 5 year old, who when given an answer, responds with the same original question, “But, why?” To each layered answer comes the same dig for something deeper and more satisfying, “Ok, but why?”
To this great Why question of humanity, was previously given the biblical answer of: “so that men would seek God”. That is why God does what he does in our human realm. It is why he allows what he allows. That is where the answer begins.
That is not, however, where it ends. It is in our persistent seeking of the Lord that our understanding is deepened bit-by-bit as he opens the minds of obedient believers to the layers of his truths. At heart, each of us still has that 5 year old desire to know at a more satisfying level. Ok, but why?
It is only when Christ returns, and we see him face-to-face, that we will be allowed to see clearly and no longer “through a glass darkly”. That doesn’t mean we can’t ask for a deeper understanding now, but we should recognize that our complete satisfaction is embodied within Jesus, and it is through our faithful trust in who he is, that we are called to rest in this life without completed answers to our every question.
But longing to know more is good, and God wants to see that you care to know him more and to grasp his truths at a deeper level. So go ahead and ask it again. But, why Lord?
In many ways, this was the repeated question asked by Job. Why am I suffering? Why are you silent? Why do you allow pain to those who strive to obey you? Why do the wicked seem to get away with abuse? Why won’t you answer me?
Be aware that deeper answers will take greater maturity to hear and receive. Job had three friends who tried to give answers to his whys, but in each case, they gave educated but erred opinions that could not be supported by the evidence or by Scripture. There was, however, a fourth speaker (Job 33 – 37).
Elihu said of himself, “Be assured that my words are not false; one perfect in knowledge is with you”. His name means, “God is God”. He didn’t look impressive or have the credentials of the other three, but he was the only one who could answer why.
He describes Job’s complaint that God doesn’t answer his why questions, by saying that God does answer, just not as we often prefer. He speaks in ways that people often miss (Job 33:14). His responses, like through dreams, often
“terrify them with warnings, to turn man from wrongdoing and keep him from pride, to preserve his soul from the pit, his life from perishing by the sword.” (Job 33:16-18)
The speaker continues to describe how, in addition to speaking in subtle ways, the Lord may allow a person to be “chastened on a bed of pain”. He also reminds Job that God is fully aware of what the wicked are doing. “There is no dark place, no deep shadow, where evildoers can hide.” Their punishment and destruction has already been appointed. Again we hear, the cries of the needy always come before him, and he has a plan to rescue them, in a way and at a time of his choosing. But why?
“Men cry out under a load of oppression; they plead for relief from the arm of the powerful.” (Job 35:9)
Ok, so humans are wired to cry out for help when under stress. But, why doesn’t it all stop when I ask for help? If I seek him, why does it still hurt? Why does God allow hardships, pain, suffering, war, abuse, discomfort, and lifelong heartache?
God is more than just the Creator. He is also in the business of salvation. He desires that those made in his image desire to know him, to seek him. But, because of our freedom to make choices, and our complete tendency to choose like Adam and sin against God, we need to be saved from ourselves.
As Elihu instructed Job and his three friends:
“God does all these things to a man—twice, even three times—to turn back his soul from the pit.” (Job 33:29-30)
Why does God do what he does, and allow what he allows: because he wants you to seek him. Ok, but why: because He also wants to save you for eternity from all the garbage that swirls within and would otherwise damage you permanently.
You see, life happens as it does, through all the hard things that we experience, because God is working out the eternal destiny for each person on this planet. For those who disdain his molding for more pleasurable experiences now, he is hardening them for a date with terror and eternal destruction. For you who recognize his majesty and his gracious call, and who respond with enduring repentance and faithful obedience, he is refining you like the purest gold.
Ok, but why is he taking so long? Because he wants everyone to repent and find his offered salvation:
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Pet 3:9)
Ok, but why? Because God made you for a purpose–to belong to him and enjoy his family.
Ok, but why? So that God will be appreciated as God and not just another god.
Ok, but why? To bring glory to Jesus.
Ok, but why? So that you may shine like the stars in the universe.
Ok, but why? To allow us to participate in the Cross of our Lord, to remove all tendency toward sin, and establish his perfect righteousness in us.
Ok, but why? Because God loves his children and wants what is best for you.
Ok, but…. So that you will radiate with unfading beauty and majestic glory.
Ok,…. So that you will inherit eternal life with no more tears or suffering, and receive all the riches of heaven that belong to Christ, and become like your Father the Most High God.
Um…. So that you will be blessed forever.
Hmm. There is nothing better than to be the best with the Best of All.
Ok, I’m good with that. Do you want to play Lego’s now?