“What would you ask God if you were face to face with Him now?”
I threw the question to an all-female audience of National Book Store staff. It was my little ice breaker during our publishing company’s product presentation to them. Anyone who would come forward to answer the question would win a copy of Philip Yancey’s Where is God When it Hurts?, one of several products we were promoting.
I was being the chirpy presenter who unleashed punch lines incessantly to sustain the audience’s interest. But the mood would change dramatically as some brave ladies shared their questions for God with misty eyes:
“Why did You take my mother away?”
“Why aren’t You granting our desire to have another child? My husband and I want one so bad…”
“Why did my premature baby have to die? If he had been born a day later he would have stood a chance…”
After they shared their very personal stories, many in the audience were dabbing their eyes with tissue. I confess, there was a growing lump in my throat too.
It’s interesting how our questions for God often begin with why. We want explanations, reasons, justifications. We long to understand. And yet, many times there are no clear answers from Him. We don’t hear a booming voice that enumerates the reasons for our circumstances. There’s no bright vision to enlighten us so we can make perfect sense of our pain.
I think of Job’s experience. He wanted answers to his why-am-I-suffering questions. Although God responded to Him audibly, He did not dish out point-blank answers. Instead God drew Job’s attention to His identity and heart, as if to say, “You do not see the whole picture. Even if I explained, you wouldn’t understand. All you need is Me. I am God, and I am with you in your pain.”
Maybe that’s not the answer we want, but the one we need.