Why Asking God “Why?” Is an Important Step in Faith"Rebuke the desire to prove your own intelligence to others, and instead embrace the idea that there is only One with all the answers."
Normally, “Why?” is a question of simple curiosity. Every child, for example, asks at some point why the sky is blue.
Sometimes, when you ask God “Why?” it’s out of this same type of curiosity. You might want to know, for instance, why God took seven days to create everything instead of, say, twenty (Genesis 1-2). Or maybe you want to know why Jesus walked on the water (Matthew 14:22-33)—was it to test Peter’s faith or give the disciples clear proof He came from Heaven? The Pharisees asked why Jesus spent time with sinners and tax collectors (Matthew 9:11).
But sometimes asking God “Why?” is also an expression of excruciating pain. It’s the question people ask when they lose a loved one, when they don’t understand how drug addiction fits into His plan, or when someone cheats them out of the opportunity for financial security. And it is the question Jesus posed on the cross as He felt forsaken (Matthew 27:46).
But in either case, asking God “Why?” is an important—if not the most important—step in building a relationship with the Creator. That’s because when we ask this one word, there is the expectation of an answer. There is the trust that He not only has that answer, but that, in His compassion, He will also provide the answer to us.
In this context, Proverbs 3:5-6 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” So, when we ask “Why?” we are honoring God and admitting that He is greater than we are. This holds true even when our emotions are so overwhelming that we don’t know how to manage them, and even when our pain is so deep that the Holy Spirit must make intercession and speak the “Why?” and all the other thoughts of our heart for us through wordless groans (Romans 8:26).
God does not leave us empty-handed. We learn from the rest of Proverbs 3 that there are blessings found in trusting Him. They may not look as we expect, but the blessings are there.
Now, here’s the tough part to this. In his letter to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul reaffirmed that the nature of true apostleship is to be servants entrusted with mysteries God revealed—God can and does respond and open our eyes (1 Corinthians 4:1). Amos 4:13 further states that God reveals His thoughts to us.
In 2 Peter 3:8, we learn that God’s timing isn’t our timing—with God, “a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” And after the resurrection, before Jesus was taken up to Heaven, Jesus gave a reminder that it’s “not for you to know the times and dates God has set by His own authority” (Acts 1:7).
Sometimes we have to wait for the explanation, based on God’s understanding of what’s best for us. And if we are not careful, we can be tricked into thinking that the lack of immediacy proves God doesn’t care. Or worse, that there isn’t a compassionate God at all.
Your challenge as a Christian is not to be speechless and never question God, but to respectfully, boldly and not be afraid to ask God “Why?” It is to hold on to patience through silence, and as a joint heir with Christ (Romans 8:17), to make inquiries freely without fear of harm. It is to rebuke the desire to prove your own intelligence to others, and to instead embrace the idea that there is only One with all the answers.
This article was published in the March 2022 issue of The War Cry.