I found out a few months ago that an old friend lost her husband to a rare condition. No one ever knew that this new father to twin girls had a small hole in his heart until they found him on the floor not breathing. And if that wasn’t tragic enough, one of the twins died suddenly a few months later from another unsuspected episode.
I haven’t seen this old friend in years, but when hearing the story, I broke down and cried thinking about the confusion & pain she must be feeling. Even now, as I write, I can feel the weight of it in my chest.
“How could God let this happen?! If he truly is good, how could He let people go through excruciating pain like this?” Isn’t this the obvious question to default to in these moments? Yet, isn’t this the same question that we can never seem to find a good answer for?
Could it be, as in many cases in life, that we don’t get the answers we’re looking for because we’re not asking the best questions?
In this case, we’re talking to the same God that took on human form and willingly gave himself to a painful death so that he can be close to us…inside of us – all the while never leaving us, regardless of how intense our pain may be.
When we take His obvious care for us into account – a question like “How can God let this happen?” may feel like it misses the mark before ever leaving our mouths. The more relevant question may be…“Where is God right now, in the midst of my pain?”
With this slightly re-engineered question, my old friend may find an answer worth living for. Particularly, that God once chose excruciating pain just so that he could be in the room with her, comforting her during this agonizing time. Consider…
God is close to the brokenhearted. | Psalm 34
You gave your body to the lonely. They took your clothes. You gave up a wife and family. You gave your ghost. To be alone with me, you went up on a tree. | Sufjan Stevens
If you’re not getting the answers you’re looking for in life, give this a try…
1. Forget the questions. Start with conversation.
We’re obsessed with having the answers. Yet, most of the time it’s the conversation or process leading to answers that God’s most interested in. Instead of approaching Him with questions, try going to Him simply to connect or learn more about Him.
“This is eternal life, that they may (intimately & experientially) know You (The Father).” | John 17 | The greek word used for “know” is ginṓskō. It means “through personal experience” & “first-hand acquaintance.”
2. Re-engineer your question.
As in the case of us defaulting to a question like, “How could you let this happen?” – we often ask the wrong questions because we don’t know the nature of who we’re speaking to. If you’re having a hard time getting answers from God, you may want to re-evaluate who you think He is and how that changes your questions. Consider…
“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” – Matthew 7
“If anyone wants wisdom, let him ask God – who is generous and loves to help.” – James 1
What questions are you currently consciously or subconsciously asking God that may need to be re-engineered?
Photo cred: Stefan Chinof