“Isn’t this the One who opens blind eyes? Why didn’t he do something to keep Lazarus alive?” (John 11:37 The Passion Translation.)
Those nasty “Why?” questions. I’d stopped asking them. I had decided it was an expression of trust in God if I didn’t even go there. I figured it would be better just to accept what has happened—I wanted to avoid making accusations like the one Lazarus’ friends expressed here. Besides, there seldom seems to be an answer. . . . at least not one I can comprehend. These “Why?” questions seem so fruitless.
. . . and futile.
. . . and painful.
So when my friend, Judy, passed away a couple of months ago after a dreadful battle with cancer, I didn’t let myself entertain the “Why?” questions, even though her death took me by surprise. I really thought she was going to beat this thing and return to the grace-filled, fruitful life of compassion that she was known for. But I didn’t want to sound like Lazarus’ friends, so critical and reproachful. So my “Why’s?” went unasked.
But then I remembered: just a few verses earlier, Jesus had clearly told His disciples what was going on. When they thought Lazarus was just sleeping, He told them straight out: “Lazarus is dead. And for your sake, I’m glad I wasn’t there, because now you have another opportunity to see who I am so that you will learn to trust in me.” (vs. 14-15 TPT)
It struck me: What if I’ve been avoiding the “Why?” questions when Jesus actually wants to share some insights with me like He did with His disciples here? What if He is actually providing another opportunity to “see who He is” and extending an invitation to “learn to trust in Him.”
We’ve all got our own “Why?” questions. And maybe it’s actually okay for us to ask them. Maybe the process of asking and listening will draw us deeper into Jesus’ heart as we seek to grasp some of His motivations. Maybe we’ll actually get some answers—and possibly even some peace—in places where we’re unsettled. We’ve all got our “Why’s?” and Jesus doesn’t seem to be offended by them. In fact, He’s probably glad that we’re asking—that we want to hear what’s going on in His heart.
So let’s ask.
Is there something that’s going on in your life that just isn’t making sense? Have you experienced a painful loss recently? How do you feel about asking Jesus the hard “Why?” questions? Is He extending an invitation to you to ask Him some of these questions?
Thank You, Lord, that You welcome us to ask our “Why?” questions. We’re grateful for the invitation to wrestle with you about the things that trouble our hearts. Please help us to see who You are and trust You a little more in the process. Amen.
Jesus is inviting us to ask our “Why?” questions.
~ Kathryn Kircher