For years, I pleaded with God, “Why Lord? Why must I go through this? Why must I suffer with this crippling anxiety and fear? Why must anyone suffer? Is it because of sin? Have I done something wrong to deserve this? Why Lord? Just tell me why?”
I’m sure many of you have had similar thoughts and dialogs with God. Deep down, we have this burning desire to know why bad things happen. The randomness and vulnerability of life drives us to want to know why.
Do you ever wonder why people need to know why?
I think if we knew why, it could help us to feel more in control of our life. It would make us less vulnerable, because we could take steps to avoid the pain and maintain control of our lives. Another benefit of knowing why is so that we could remedy the situation, make it go away and give us the comfort we crave.
Jesus addressed this need to know why: About this time Jesus was informed that Pilate had murdered some people from Galilee as they were sacrificing at the Temple in Jerusalem. “Do you think those Galileans were worse sinners than other people from Galilee?” Jesus asked. “Is that why they suffered?” (Luke 13:1-2).
These people were brutally murdered. Was there some sin in their lives? Was their worship wrong? Did they have some secret hidden agenda that made God mad? Come on, Jesus, tell us why. Then, in verse 4, Jesus asks, “And what about the eighteen men who died when the Tower of Siloam fell on them? Were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem?” Tell me, Jesus, I want to know why. Help us understand so that we can feel less vulnerable, so that we can stay in control of our lives. Tell us why.
In both questions, Jesus responded with similar answers: “Not at all! And you will also perish unless you turn from your evil ways and turn to God” (verse 5).
In a sense, Jesus was saying, “Stop seeking to know why, and turn to God. Stop spending all your energy looking at the past, and focus on the present. You don’t need to know why. You need to know God.”
I believe there are some situations where we should seek out the “why’s” in our life, but they are rare, and they should only be initiated by God. I think we spend way too much emotional and mental energy pursuing things in our past, when we should be pursuing God in the present.
This week, take time to draw close to God. The Bible promises us that if we draw near to him, he will draw near to us (James 4:8). Ask God to release you from your need to know why.
Prayer: Lord, please help me to stop focusing on “why” and focus on you. Jesus told us to seek first the Kingdom of God. Help us to focus this week on you, Father.