Asking and seeking: the freedom to ask “why?”


Another guest post by Christi.


Why do lightning bugs light up?

Why do dandelions have fuzz?

Why do I have to clean my room?

If you’ve ever been around children, you know that the “why?” questions can range from amusing to exasperating. But I bet you’ve tried to answer most of the reasonable questions and even a few of the unreasonable ones.

If you are close to someone, you probably feel comfortable enough to ask that person hard questions–even if you know you may not like the answers. 

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you…You parents–if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask?” (Matthew 7: 7, 9-11 NLT)

If I have a good Father, I can ask him for anything. I can ask him to help me understand. I can ask why. I can count on him to answer with patience and grace.

 Why is this important? I know so many people who are hurting right now. Some feel utterly devastated by truly heart-breaking circumstances. I am one of them. Sometimes I am good at taking my broken heart to Jesus and sometimes I’m not. On good days and bad, I have a lot of questions for my Father. One of those questions is, “Why this much suffering?” And I feel the gentleness of His Holy Spirit patiently guiding me. At times, he guides me to an answer, and other times, he simply guides me to seek and know Him more. To seek Him. To know Him.

 Occasionally, I hear someone imply (or say outright) that we “should not question God.” Really? How on earth can I have a deep, abiding relationship with someone who wants me to call him “Father” and not ask him about the most heart-rending suffering I have ever known? Why should we not ask why?

 Do we think he is too impersonal to answer? Do we think he doesn’t care enough to answer? Do we think he can’t break it down into a way we can understand? 

If we truly belong to Him, He has given us the freedom to ask “why.”

When we ask “why,” we need to be conscientious about the attitudes of our hearts. Often, the “why?” can come out as a pity-party, as in (insert Eeyore tone here) “Poor me. Why me?” Pity-parties are all about one person, and that person is not God. Most of us have been there at some point. I’m not talking about that kind of “why.” We need to reach a level of maturity in our faith walk that recognizes there is a bigger picture, a greater purpose, and a perfect plan while at the same time acknowledging that the pain we experience cries out for comfort, healing, hope, and the ability to understand even a tiny nugget of that greater purpose. 

“And you will seek me and find me, when you search for me with all of your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13 NKJV).

Seeking involves asking, but seeking Him with all our heart involves asking with the RIGHT attitude, an attitude that acknowledges Him as sovereign. We don’t demand answers from the great I AM, but rather we come to Him broken,  pouring out our hearts to Him, and asking for help in understanding the why of suffering. Maybe we won’t like His answer. Sometimes I haven’t. And that’s okay. Where the answers don’t suffice, we can be sure His grace and mercy and peace will.