If I have questions for God, they need to be the right ones, and I need have no doubt whatsoever that God will answer me and tell me what I need to know and do in order to tap into his power to endure. What I will certainly need to learn is to trust him more and not less, to stop depending on my feelings, and to develop my faith. And what I must ask the Lord is, “What do I say to others who question me about my misfortunes?” If I ask God these sorts of questions, I can have every assurance that he will answer me.
It’s quite all right to ask God any question under the sun, but there are questions we need to ask in order to get the answers to proceed with our lives. If we can dare to ask God to help us ask him the hard questions, he will direct us to some things that will maximize the blessings suffering can bring to us. For example, we can ask him, “How can this trouble you have permitted make me more like you?” instead of “Why aren’t you removing this trouble?” God listens to every word we say, and we mustn’t doubt his eager attention.
But if I doubt he’s even there, that he’s listening, or that he is interested in making a wise person out of me in the middle of the mess, then I will be “like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man,” says James, “should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does” (James 1:7-8).
It’s easy to feel as if our little craft of faith is being tossed about like a cork in the storm, isn’t it? Job felt just like that. Yet, when the storm was at its height, God spoke to Job above the sound of the tempest and asked him why he had a problem with the problem!
Chapters 38 through 42 of Job are glorious chapters. After an uncanny silence, Job at last hears the voice he has been longing to hear. After seeing nothing – he sees God! And, hearing and seeing, he worships in a way he has never worshipped before. He lays his questions down at the feet of the Lord and kneels there, stunned in wondering abandonment. “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you,” he cries (Job 42:5).
Ruth Bell Graham was a wonderful poet. I love to read her work. One of her poems particularly caught my eye:
I lay my “whys”
before Your cross
in worship kneeling,
my mind too numb
my heart beyond
realize that I
in knowing You
don’t need a “why.”
Just Between Us Magazine