When my nephew, Joshua, was around eight years old, my father enjoyed teasing him by asking him a bunch of “why?” questions—obviously trying to make a point about how often Joshua asked such questions.
As adults, we also ask a lot of “why?” questions. We never outgrow our natural curiosity; in fact, we probably become more cynical and skeptical, questioning the reasoning behind much of what happens in our lives.
The people in the Bible were no different…
When Rebekah felt her twins jostling around in her womb, she asked the Lord, “Why is this happening to me?” (Genesis 25:22)
The Israelites grumbled to Moses: “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?” (Exodus 17:3)
Moses in turn asked God, “Why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand?” (Exodus 32:11)
Job, in his despair, asked, “Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb?” (Job 3:11) Actually, Job asked many “why?” questions, including one that many of us have probably asked: “Why do the wicked live on, growing old and increasing in power?” (Job 21:7)
David, too, often questioned why God allowed certain things to happen: “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?” (Psalm 42:9)
Is it wrong to ask “why?” Not if we’re asking with a sincere desire to understand and a willingness to accept the answer. But if we simply ask “why?” and then storm off in anger, there’s a problem.
Also, if we want to ask God “why?” then we should be willing to answer some of His questions:
“Why do you worry about your clothes?” (Matthew 6:28)
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3)
“You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” (Matthew 8:26)
“Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?” (Matthew 9:4)
“Why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?” (Matthew 15:3)
“Why are you thinking these things?” (Mark 2:8)
“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46)
And I love this one: “Why have you been standing here all day doing nothing?” (Matthew 20:6)
The next time you want to ask God “why?”, take a moment to ask yourself why you’re asking. Let’s aim for more wise and less why’s.
Have a blessed day!