A Useful “Why?”

When serious suffering penetrates our hearts, we often ask God, “Why?” Why did I lose my job? Why am I not married? Why did my child die of cancer?  Why did my wife walk out?  Why did my father leave? As an ultimate question, it’s unanswerable.

However, “why” produces insight when we ask it in response to an overreaction. Then we can use “why” to dig deeper. “Why?” in the sense of motivation.

  DSCN6146 Why does my child’s resistance to my control provoke such anger? Why does my husband’s unwillingness to go antiquing with me create such grief? Why does my friend’s cancellation of our shopping date send me to bed with the covers over my head?

Asking why we overreact can lead us to the lies we believe about our own worth and value. Then, asking why we believe those lies yields even more understanding. As a therapist, I often asked “why” repeatedly to help strugglers dig down to helpful insight.  This kind of “why” is also a good question to ask the God who knows our hearts.

The first kind of “Why?” God doesn’t answer. The second one, because it leads to “truth in the innermost parts,” God delights to answer. 


Father, help us ask the useful “why” questions and trust the unanswerable “whys” to your goodness.