So many Christians think not. Perhaps they think the God who is gently taking them through a deep fire of trial or temptation now will add lightning to the mix if they question Him.
Perhaps they think that by questioning God they’re exhibiting a lack of faith.
Perhaps they think their friends would rebuke them for asking God for a purpose to their trials.
I had someone close to me tell me this week, “Stay close to God. I’d hate to go through what you’re going through as it is, but I’d really hate to do it with God angry with me!” I had a few other people tell me, “I can’t imagine what you’re going through. I bet you’re tempted to question God. Remember how much He loves you instead.” As if questioning God’s purpose for our trial was some sort of sin. And if I had the desire to question Him i was facing a temptation to sin.
While I appreciate every note, phone call (even though most of the time we haven’t answered them, I know!), message, comment on facebook, and gift, some of these particular comments got me thinking that perhaps there was something we were missing about our God.
I’ve been through trials before. Some in jr. high – “God, why did you let me leave my original copy of my state piano competition score at home? Now, after 10 months of 2 hr a day practice, I’ve been disqualified!” Some in high school – “God, why can’t I make a basket, even when my coach has put me in every. single. game?” Some in college – “Why innocent people in the twin towers? Why America? Why is evil seeming to win?” Some the day we gave birth to our first sweet daughter.
And now this. A deep trial that has rocked our faith to its core. After our faith had already been rocked to its core, we thought, twice in the last 6 months.
So, can we? Can I? You know, ask God for His purpose in putting me through such painful situations and trials?
Is it OK to ask God, the Creator of all things good, and the giver of all things good, for His purpose in putting us through some sort of trial that, honestly, makes us want to think that not knowing God would be easier than knowing He is good and all loving and still doing this to us?
Everything does have a purpose under the Heavens. (Ecclesiastes 3)
And all things are through God, In God, and from God. (Romans 11:36)
And we’re supposed to ask God – who created these purposes and knows these purposes – for wisdom. (James 1:5)
In fact, James said – When you’re in a trial, count it joy. Because this testing is going to bring about perseverance. And that perseverance. if you let it keep you in the trial until God deems it to be finished, when it’s finished its work, you will be perfect and complete – lacking nothing. But while you’re in that trial, If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.
Really? God will give us the wisdom we need to get through trials? He’ll give us the wisdom we need to make it through? And He won’t get angry at us for asking?
The wisdom for deciding whether or not continuing some hormone supplements that were supposed to help me stay pregnant (which I was taking this entire pregnancy when I thought the baby was “perfect”), when the doctors are advising against it now and are all telling me that this is only prolonging the inevitable and will just cause more potential physical and emotional issues for me when I try to deliver a larger, more developed baby?
The wisdom for coming up with a birth plan about a planned C section vs a natural delivery, which could potentially give me a few more moments of life with our little one should he or she make it to full term, but could possibly have me so drugged up that I wouldn’t be alert and able to enjoy those few precious moments?
But what about when I need a reason. When what I’m doing needs a purpose. Why am I here on this earth? To glorify God. OK, I can do this living, earth-thing then. I have a purpose.
But why am I under this deep trial? Is it ok to ask God that?
I’m submitting another resounding YES. Here’s why I say that.
It’s been done. And not just by Job. And me.
Moses did it.“Why have you given me this burden to carry these people? I don’t deserve this. Just kill me.” (Number 11:9-11)
Joshua did it.“Why, if you are so Sovereign, did you bring us here only to have us face this hardship? I would have done things differently.” (Joshua 7:7)
David, That “man after God’s own heart”, did it.“Why do you seem to stand afar off and hide Yourself in times of trouble?” (Psalm 10:1-2) “Why are you so far from helping me and do not hear my groanings?” (Psalm 22:1-2) “Why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1)
King Hezekiah, the one who said, “I’ve been good in your site, God. I’ve been loyal to you.” And God added 15 years to his life, He did it.“Why have you forgotten about me?” ( Psalm 42:9-10) “Why do you cast me off?” (Psalm 43:2) “Why do you sleep, God?” (Psalm 44:23)
Asaph, the songwriter responsible for many Psalms, did it.“Why does your anger smoke against your people, God?” (Psalm 74:1) “Why do you withdraw your hand of protection, God?” (Psalm 74:11)
Jeremiah, weeping in deep sorrow, did it.“Why have you struck us and not healed us?” (Jeremiah 14:19) “Why is my pain perpetual? Are you a liar and unreliable?” (Jeremiah 15:18)
Habakkuk did it.“Why do you allow wickedness to win and allow good people to suffer? (Habakkuk 1:3) “Why are you silent when the wicked destroy those who are more righteous than they? You are not fair!” (Habakkuk 1:12-13)
Jesus. God-Man incarnate who knew all things – and never sinned. He did it.
“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:45)
Perhaps sometimes, we already know the answer to the question we ask. We just still don’t understand that answer. Jesus certainly knew all things. Surely He knew what was happening. But if He was truly sinless, then asking such a thing in the midst of the worst trial in human history can’t possibly be a sin. Perhaps its a natural human response to find a purpose for what we’ve been given from God.
In fact, “the cross not only allows us to ask why; it compels us to ask. Because when we’re asking why, we’re peering into purpose. It’s absolutely essential, in “tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword,” that we discover and cooperate with divine purpose so that we might be “more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Rom. 8:35,37).” (quote from Bob Sorge.)
And it’s OK to do.
Just…be ready for God’s answer. Because He says: Go ahead during those trials and ask for wisdom. God will give it to you – and He won’t rebuke you for asking. But if you do ask, you’d better ask in faith, not doubting the answer you get. “For the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord.”
So ask. In faith. And confidence.
(*some study notes of the servant’s questioning God taken from Jeanette Miller’s Study entitled, “When Seeing is Believing”)