Oh no! It’s the kid who cannot stop asking the question— “WHY?”. It does not matter how many answers I offer, how many resolutions are given, or how many topics are about to be brought up… I know I will spend my next 10 minutes answering the umpteen whys this little kiddo asks. Have you been there before? Being a former why-kid myself, I understand children like this more than most. Some say curiosity killed the cat, but I believe in humans… curiosity is what cures ignorance. Wrestling with difficult questions that arise in life may not always be fun, but in the end, it leads to maturation.
Human beings are innately wired to ask the question why. We spend much of our lives answering this very question. We try new restaurants, hobbies, activities, and a host of other things to see WHY others like them. We click on articles, scroll through social media, and use search engines in many respects to answer our whys. To ask why is woven into the very fabric of what it means to be human.
Is there ever a time asking why can go too far? If you are a recovering why-kid, you probably readily recall this answer. No matter how overwhelmingly cute you are… at a certain point, the whys prove to be too much for your parents. It is then you start to hear answers like, “Because I said so!” or, “Because God made it that way!” Though these do not always satisfy the why they do signal the end of the conversation. Spiritually speaking, is there ever a time where God has had enough of our inquiries? Is it wrong to question God? Is it okay sometimes but bad other times? Answering this is a little bit more difficult than you would think at first glance. However, when dealing with suffering, evil, and pain… the question of why is almost unavoidable.
Some would contend that it is never okay to question God. After all, He is the Creator of the universe. How can the finite ever question the infinite, the omnipotent, the omniscient, the omnipresent, the omnibenevolent Being? Moreover, Scripture does give credence to this line of thinking. God Himself said, “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” Isaiah 55:8-9.Paul would say, “But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why have you made me like this?’” Romans 9:20. Or perhaps the greatest example of this is found in the entirety of Job 38 and 39, where God starts by saying, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?” Job 38:4a
Still, others would argue that it is perfectly fine to question God, and they are also correct. Scripture backs up this claim as well. The brother of the Lord said, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5. The prophet Habakkuk petitioned God, “…Why do You look on those who deal treacherously, and hold Your tongue when the wicked devours a person more righteous than he?” Habakkuk 1:13. The Psalmist says, “Why do you stand afar off, O Lord? Why do you hide in times of trouble?” Psalm 10:1. Another Psalmist says, “Why do you hide Your face, and forget our affliction and our oppression?” Psalm 44:24. Yet another would say, “O God, why have You cast us off forever? Why does Your anger smoke against the sheep of Your pasture?” Psalm 74:1.
As if this was not enough, another Psalmist would also say, “Will the Lord cast off forever? And will He be favorable no more? Has His mercy ceased forever? Has His promise failed forevermore? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies?” Psalm 77:7-9. David is ascribed the man after God’s own heart, and even he was not above questioning God… “How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?” Psalm 13:1. Listen, at the end of the day, even our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ asked the question why… “My God, My God, WHY have You forsaken Me?” Mark 15:34.
So, is it wrong to question God? No. However, can it also be wrong? Yes. The root of the answer is found in the heart of the one asking. If we are questioning with a genuine and contrite heart seeking clarity and guidance… not only is that acceptable, but God also freely welcomes it. However, to challenge the character, existence, or infallibility of God… those questions are rooted in doubt, leading to faithlessness and the forfeiture of our salvation. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6. The good news is God alone is the One who discerns the intents of the heart (1 Samuel 16:7; 1 Kings 8:39; 1 Chronicles 28:9; Psalm 7:9, 44:21; Proverbs 21:2; Jeremiah 11:20). Questioning God can lead to one of two things. Either it will strengthen our faith— or ruin it. May we all be like the father in Mark 9:24, “Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, ‘Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!’”
-Ben Hogan, Minister of Evangelism