Thursday, March 14, 2013

Is it OK to ask 'why'?

When people encounter an especially difficult and unexpected trial—loss of a job, a relationship, of good health—the “why” question will surface. But it is important to note there are two “why” questions. The first is “Why me, Lord?” This “why” is born out of self-preservation and self-pity. The second is just “Why Lord?” This one is born out of the faithful heart of a truth-seeker, submitted to God, even, and perhaps especially, when things don't make sense.

When I found out I had pancreatic cancer, I did ask the second ‘why’ question. Fifty-five years of walking with the Lord has taught me who is in charge, if nothing else! And, if I really believe “it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20) and that “I am NOT my own, but have been bought with a price” (1 Cor. 6:19-20), there can be no “Why me?” God’s calling on my life gives Him full privilege to do with me as He chooses. Am I actually saying that God chose me for this affliction? Yes.

As a child, my very advanced brain was out of sync with my physical development; in other words, I was uncoordinated! Thus, I experienced the rejection and humiliation of one always chosen last (or not at all!) when sides were drawn for the baseball, football, basketball teams. But now, many years later, I feel like I have been chosen to be on God’s ‘major league’ team! Perhaps I am sensing a little of what Paul must have felt when he said, “I exult in my afflictions,” rejoicing that God saw fit to advance the kingdom through his suffering. I may not have an absolute answer to my “Why Lord,” but I am confident it is part of God’s ultimate design to make me a “vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work” (2 Tim. 2:21).


  1. Good afternoon Greg,
    Thoughtful post! Thanks for making the distinction. If we assert that it is God's will to conform us to the image of His Son, and that everything that happens to us has already been filtered through His hand, then the answer to, "Why me?' is "Because I am absurdly, irrevocably, immeasurably loved? But the question, "How can even this conform me to the image of His son?" can cause significant beneficial reflection on what God is doing around me, and most importantly, in me. With that wiser perspective in place, I am more capable of participating with God. For me, that means fewer times around the woodshed.
    I am honored to call you friend!
    Godspeed! Larry Q

  2. Greg,

    I don't remember who to credit the following statement, but I believe it was Oswald Chambers, who reminds us that "...many times the trials we face are not meant for us"...but rather for someone else within our sphere of influence. An odd sentiment until you consider that God can trust us with response befitting His character, while the one who the trial was meant for may not be so trustworthy. However, they can more readily receive God's instruction through the testimony and experience(s) of an intermediary--us. Perhaps in no other way can our trials, tribulations, and persecutions be redemptive and vicarious than when we bear the ones meant for our brethren.

    While the above may not bring great comfort it may help to understand the ways of God's love a little more. And therein may lie the comfort.


  3. Hi Larry

    Again, your are generous with your encouragement. What you have said about being loved is so true. So I am trying to tell myself, ask myself, "Why should He love me so!"


  4. Hello Stan

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. I have been made so aware of this ideas as expressed in Oswald's comment that our trials are meant for the good of us and those in our sphere. That adds a dimension of purpose that protects us from a man-cenetered perspective.

    keep on sharing... Greg