For a very long time, I was under the impression that if I asked “why” or “how long” or if I was sad or angry about something that happened in life, then I was a terrible Christian. Because “good” Christians aren’t supposed to wonder why bad things happen. They’re just supposed to suck it up, smile, nod and keep screaming, “Praise God” no matter what. Right?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that persevering through trials and praising God in them is a bad thing. If you are able to do that, I applaud you. However, I doubt that many of us can.
I had a friend who told me over and over again that I was wrong for asking “why” or being sad. She told me that all of my pain was for good (which was true) and that I shouldn’t feel anything but joy while I went through it (which was not true). I was then accused of not being a Christian and told that I must turn back to God before it was too late and I was doomed to hell forever.
I did not lose my faith during that time. In fact, in the hardest part of that time, I felt closer to God than I had in a long time. But I didn’t understand why God was giving me so much pain. Looking back now, I can see it with clearer eyes. I can see that the hurt was indeed for a reason and that, ultimately, it was for my complete and total good. If someone had told me that at the time, I would have laughed them off and been angry. What I needed was for someone to be sad with me, and to gently encourage me to continue to cling to God during that time (and God did give me a few special people who helped me do just that).
I felt so horrible for wondering why I was in pain and why, why, why life had fallen apart. Now I realize that it is okay to ask why. It’s okay to ask, “How long is this going to last?” Let me say that again, IT IS OKAY TO ASK WHY. If you don’t believe me, look at the psalms.
There are so many places where David asks why, where he asks how long, where he begs for help and cries out in despair. The bible says that David was a man after God’s own heart. Was God displeased with him for his cries? No, I do not believe that he was.
How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?
My God, save me, your servant who trusts in you. Lord, have mercy on me, because I have called to you all day. Give happiness to me, your servant, because I give my life to you, Lord.
How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?
My soul is in deep anguish. How long, LORD, how long?
When Jesus was dying on the cross, he cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Those words are so powerful and speak so deeply to me. Jesus himself was forsaken by God and he called out in pain and agony why.
God is not angry when you don’t understand what is happening. He won’t be mad if you cry to him and ask him for clarity. It’s okay.