Then Mosses turned again to the Lord and said, “O Lord, why have you mistreated this people? Why did you ever send me? Since I first came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has mistreated this people, and you have done nothing at all to deliver your people”.
And the next chapter is all about God slashing Moses to bits on the highest mountain and showering his body parts from the sky…
Actually, God answered with a promise. Because God had a made a promise and God keeps His promises. He then showers something from the sky: a whole raft of plagues. Plagues that we cannot imagine today, water turned to blood, frogs that invaded every house, flies that bit, locusts, hail and storms, and ultimately the death of every first born Egyptian child, including Pharaoh’s son.
Have you ever been in a church group or Bible study where people said to not question God? I have, a few times. But I’ve always been the questioning type. In fact as a kid they called me “mouth” because I liked to ask questions. Of the lady who named me that, I asked, “Why are your eyebrows drawn on like that? Wow, how she didn’t smack me that day I’ll never know!
But Moses did ask God “Why”? And Moses lived. AND he got an answer from God. Why are we so afraid of asking God “Why?” Maybe it’s that verse about the grumbling complainers that God did slash to bits in the dessert. But for context read Numbers 16 and 1 Corinthians 10. Moses just asked “Why”, he didn’t complain.
SO, I have a theory, I think God allows, our “why” questions. In fact, I think He may even honor them. If you’re in a real relationship with someone. Say, it’s your new fiancé, aren’t you going to ask them, why they want to be with you? If they do something unexpected, like apply for a different job, won’t you ask why? If they think you should move to another country and work among the natives, won’t you ask why? It’s a normal question.
Now let me speak to the times of life that are hard and you need to know why. Times, like surviving abuses, or a friend that passes away. Those times also necessitate the “why”. Maybe you got a cancer diagnosis, or maybe the one you prayed for did not live. Maybe you did live, and another died, you need to know why. You just do. I believe God honors that, and even knows we need those kinds of answers. And though we may not always get the answer we’re after, I even believe there’s still one to be found. For instance, as a sexual abuse survivor, I cannot explain why the abusers chose to do what they did. Maybe they too were abused and acted out, or maybe just have addictions to sex. Whatever the case there came a day when I sought God on why that happened. I needed to understand His perspective.
The verse that came to me was Romans 8:28, “we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose” (NRSV). And I also could recall the life of Joseph, who’s brothers tried to kill him, but ended up selling him in to slavery. This life is full of troubles, we are guaranteed in the Bible. Joseph said an amazing thing though, “Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good…” (Gen. 50:20).
Something else stuck out to me after asking “Why?” I realized there were countless other women in the same shoes as me. Countless women without a voice, girls, daughters, mothers, sisters, aunts, friends, who have suffered in very similar ways and are still suffering. As I contemplate why I also contemplate this God I serve’s intentions of good in it. What will He use it for? As it stands it’s sort of my Nineveh, the thing I avoid.
Afterall who wants to talk about such a thing. But that’s just what needs to happen, and even more so, why else would I have earned the name “mouth” if I weren’t to be such a talker! So more to come later on that, but for now I’m praying how I can be a help to point women to the path of victory after the word “victim” has come across their lips.
When you ask God such a question you may not find any answer is given at all. I cannot see why my friend Diana was taken, why her cancer was not healed, why her 5 children are without her. Yet I do know one thing, she longed for heaven. I have never met anyone so excited to go and be with Jesus. Most of us are like, “not yet, I have too much to do here”, but not Diana, she was ready to go! Maybe that was the answer, maybe God just answered her prayer that she could come home. But to us who miss her, we may not yet see the answer.
In that case, the answer might be faith. Do we have faith to believe that God knows everything, He is sovereign and has a purpose in all He does? A good true purpose! Do we have faith to believe that?
And sometimes your answer is not one you wanted. I have prayed and prayed for a situation to change but it never did, not for many years. It was the hardest thing I had ever been through. And ultimately I decided that it may never change and so I accepted it the way it was, the way it may always be. Because like Paul with the thorn (2 Cor. 12), He is gracious to me and in that grace may leave me with it. Because with this thing I am on my knees before God, begging Him on a daily basis to be with me as I walk through it. It may be the only thing that does bring me to my knees, and for that I have to be thankful instead of angry.
Your answer may not come, or it may and you may not like it, or it may be the inspiration for the calling on your life! Who knows! But to not ask God “why”, seems to miss out on the whole adventure of maybe finding an answer!
For another take on the “Why” questions, click here, it’s an article by Timothy Keller.