Posted by: glorifyhim1 | January 18, 2010

Why?

The massive earthquake in Haiti scarcely quit rumbling before we heard the inevitable question – Why? How could a loving, merciful God allow such destruction and suffering on a poor people who have struggled with poverty and want, not to mention the ravages of decimating hurricanes and storms?

Why? Why do tragedies like 9/11 happen? Why do floods, tsunamis, and tornados wipe out entire cities, towns, and neighborhoods? Why wars, disease, and suffering? Why? Why? Why?

I’d like to say that I’ve been above asking that question, but in all honesty, I haven’t. I, too, have wondered why the innocent suffer and why a good God allows bad things to happen. I mean, God is all-powerful and all-knowing. There is nothing that He cannot do. So, why do such awful things happen?

As I’ve struggled with this question, I turned to the book of Job in the Bible. Job was a prosperous man, upright in all his ways – a good man. He had seven sons and three daughters and great possessions. According to the Scripture, Satan challenged God that Job’s motives to serve God were not pure. “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” (Job 1:9-11)  God first gave everything that Job owned over to Satan’s power, and then Job’s health. However, Satan could not take Job’s life.

What follows is one tragedy after another for Job. He lost all his property and children. He was struck with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. He was alienated from his wife. As he faced these tragedies, however, He still turned to the only One he knew to turn to. He exclaimed, “Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” (Job 2b-3a). 

As Job struggles to understand what is happening to him, however, and as he listens to the sometimes mistaken counsel of his three friends, he begins to sound a lot like us. Job felt that he had done nothing wrong. He sought to vindicate himself and justify himself before God. It is the same thing we do today when we feel that things are not fair. “I go to church. I even pay my tithe. Why did I lose my job?” “My husband and I have prayed and prayed for a child to no avail, yet an unwed mother seeks to abort yet another child.  Why?” In effect, we’re saying, “But I’ve played by the rules, why did this happen to me?”

Yet God’s word is clear that the good or bad that happens in each person’s life is not a result of our being either good or bad. “For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45b). Ultimately, facing difficult times in one’s life is not about finding an answer to the “why,” but knowing who to go to. Simply put, it is a matter of faith.

When God answered Job ( 38:1-41:34), He first described the wonders of all He had created. Then He asked Job where he was when He did it. Could Job do what He had done? Next God pointed out how He controlled the universe and all that is in it. Was Job capable of doing that?

Job’s reply is one of faith and submission to the sovereign Lord.

“I know that You can do everything,

And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.

You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’

Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,

Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.

Listen, please, and let me speak;

You said, ‘I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’

I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear,

But now my eye sees You.

Therefore I abhor myself,

And repent in dust and ashes.”

(Job 42:2-6)

Like Job, we may not always understand why bad things happen, but knowing the God who is in control can surely make a difference. You see, I know a God who loves me. The God I know created a perfect world, but because of man’s sin, our fellowship with Him was broken. Yet God was not content to leave us lost and destined to an eternity without Him. He made a way to restore us to fellowship with Him by sending His one and only Son, Jesus, to die on a cross to save us from our sins. (John 3:16)

 I know a God of mercy and grace who not only saved me from my sin, but who forgives me everyday as I mess up and make wrong choices. Sometimes our suffering and pain are a clear consequence of sin. But God is faithful to forgive us when we confess our sin (1 John 1:9). The God I know is faithful, kind, caring, patient, and not desirous that anyone should perish (2 Peter 3:9). He is also righteous, holy, and just. His ways are beyond my understanding, but I can trust Him because I know His heart.

“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!

How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!

‘For who has known the mind of the Lord?

Or who has become His counselor?’

Or who has first given to Him

And it shall be repaid to him?’

For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things,

to whom be glory forever.

Amen.”

(Romans 11:33-36)

Perhaps this is why we saw news footage in Haiti of some believers there, in the midst of indescribable suffering and pain, lifting their arms to their Savior. Although they didn’t know why, they knew Him, and they knew they could trust Him to walk with them through the misery they faced.

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Responses

  1. Great insight! It makes you look at your life and think that if we were faced with the same hardships would we respond with praise and worship to the God that allowed that to happen to us.


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