It only takes a little while around a small child to see the deep human need to understand why something is true. Even at a young age, we want to know why things happen. Little kids love to ask, “Why mommy?” when they hear or see something that they don’t like. For a while kids can be put off or even satisfied by a simple, “Because I said so.” But eventually children demand more information even from their all-knowing, larger-than-life parents. Try pacifying a teenager with the power pull and see if it works for long.
When it comes to the interaction between God and man, many of us tend to like act like teenagers. We don’t like the reality we see. Not everything fits into easy to categorize and figure out boxes. God is indeed bigger than our preconceived ideas. And when we stop to ask legitimate questions, all we hear from God is static. Or like Job in the Torah, God answers a favored man by asking him questions. And in the end, God never tells Job why he had to go through the loss of his family, wealth and health. While God does restore, He never answers the thing that Job wants to know the most.
Michael Card recently wrote in Discipleship Journal magazine, “I beg to wonder if the deepest source of Job’s pain was not the murdered children or his wrecked health, but rather the terrifying prospect that the true God might indeed be nothing like the god of his old definition.” When reality destroys our preconceived notion, it can be hard to recover. People tend to ask the question, “Why did a good God let this happen to me?” Usually, there are no real easy answers for this question, which explains why sometimes it is best not to ask it.
During his earthly ministry, Jesus continues the pattern of using mysterious ways to achieve heavenly goals. Jesus had a knack for upsetting people and doing things completely different than what they had expected. Jesus was the master of the surprise move. He did many things that were counterintuitive from a worldly perspective. And He was always willing to upset people if it accomplished a higher purpose. From waiting to visit Lazarus to harshly rebuking Peter, Jesus never shied away from confrontation or making the tough call. Yet, He always did it in love, hoping to draw others closer to God and further from evil.
I’m starting to believe that maybe the human psyche was never intended to ask why. The ramifications of the questions are just too great for us. Looking back at the story of Job, would Job have understood if God had stopped to explain everything to him? I certainly have a hard time understanding it, and I have much more information about the situation than Job had. Sometimes I too feel like a pawn in a cosmic game of chess between God and the devil. The good news is that I know who wins in the end.