I can’t think of a time when I asked God “Why?” from an attitude of faithlessness, but I’m making a distinction between that and despair, and maybe some people wouldn’t. Let me explain. I do despair. Really hard sometimes. But even then, I don’t challenge the Author for writing an unpleasant chapter. It’s just that I wish I could skip over certain chapters. A lot of my chapters thus far have made me want to skip to the end where the book is put on the shelf and the broken-made-whole being whose story was being told is released. Yet here I am.
To me, God knows what He’s doing. He knows what pains and joys I need to walk through in order to get me where I need to be for the greatest good. In order to set the stage for what’s going to happen four chapters further into the book. So I’ve always had a hard time when people argue that it’s a good thing to challenge Him. That you’ll never fully trust Him until you’ve yelled at Him. Where’s that going to get you? I don’t have the whole picture; He does. I don’t need to have all the answers right now; He has them.
“Why didn’t You do this the way I wanted?” “Why did You let that happen?” Well, obviously. Because it had to happen for reasons I don’t get to see yet. Who are we to assert that we know better than God what our best is? And besides, often, in the right timing, the human, *logical* answers do actually present themselves. Unless the reason is that “it had to happen in order to avoid this,” (e.g., I got fired because I was late to work but if I’d been running on schedule, I would have been killed in a car wreck) in which case you can only choose to be grateful for the unknowns you were spared.
God does sometimes give us pain that is “beyond our ability to endure,” to the point that “we felt we had received the sentence of death… that we might not rely on ourselves, but on God, who raises the dead.” Honestly, that 2 Corinthians 1:8-9 passage has never stood out to me, and I’m so glad I’ve caught it now. That is VERY comforting. But why do people think that means that we need to challenge His wisdom? Is that really classified as relying on Him rather than on ourselves?
I just don’t see the connection, but it’s come up a few times in my life recently. Would it not be better to say, “I don’t get this, and it is more than I can bear, and I can’t see through it right now for all the tears and pain, but at least I can trust what won’t disappoint – that God knows what he’s doing and it’ll be good in the end.”
I guess in the end you have to figure out what you’re ultimately after. And it’s an answer, right? It’s to know how this is logical. No one asks God “WHY???” except in the extreme moments when we’re tired of the illogical. When the tears won’t stop. When your heart hurts too much to breathe. When (and isn’t this straight up pride?) you JUST HAVE TO HAVE AN ANSWER NOW. Because I DON’T DESERVE THIS MUCH PAIN. (are you really so perfect?) But still we all have moments like those where we have trouble making it to the next heartbeat and just need some relief. Because it IS “beyond our ability to endure.”
So what do you do? Find relief in screaming at God while rarely if ever actually getting an answer? (In my mind, that doesn’t seem like it would be much of a relief, unless anger makes you feel better… and isn’t that a problem all its own?) Or: once you can pause long enough to get your head on straight enough to think, reminding yourself of the truth. Remembering that today is just one piece of the puzzle, and even that might be turned upside down without a glimpse of logic to it. But one day it will fit in.
“In the end, the end is oceans and oceans of love, and love again. We’ll see how the tears that had fallen were caught in the palms of the Giver of love and the Lover of all and we’ll look back on these tears as old tales.”
Isn’t that a more peace-giving answer than demanding a reason and the only answer you receive is “the holy, lonesome echo of the silence of God”?