Our Pages

Can we ask God “why”?


Can we ask God “why”?
Posted on November 13, 2019  - By Leni B

Mark 15:34 – My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?

I grew up in a Christian home where I was taught that I must not question God, especially when situations get difficult in life. “Never ask, ‘Why, Lord?’” I was told. “You must understand that God is sovereign and good and accept all He allows in your life with thankfulness.” I must confess, however, this advice fell on deaf ears. Whenever I faced difficulties, hardships and tragedies, I did ask “Why, Lord?” And I’m sure I’m not alone.

“The real problem is not why some pious, humble, believing people suffer, but why some do not.” – C.S. Lewis

This turns my attention to some of the “why” questions asked by prominent Biblical figures: 

  • People of Israel: Isaiah 40:27, Jeremiah 13:22
  • David: Psalm 43:2, Psalm 88:14
  • Isaiah: Isaiah 63: 17
  • Jeremiah: Jeremiah 20:18
  • Habakkuk: Habakkuk 1:13
  • Jesus: Mark 15:34

It surprises me that Jesus would ask “why?” More than anyone else, He was well acquainted with the Father’s plan. Yet, in His suffering and death, Jesus experienced acute physical and mental pain, and the unspeakable horror of separation from God. He too cried out, “Why?”

When we face disappointments, hardships, and tragedies, it is natural to want to know the reason for them. God indeed loves us. Then why is He allowing this to happen? Why now, Lord? The timing is not good. Why doesn’t God intervene to resolve situations in a way that we want? The “why” question may well be the most frequently asked question in the history of mankind.

Someone has said the “why” question is not one that expects an answer. It is more a cry lamenting the fractured, broken state of a world crippled by evil and sin

We have hope

Someone has said the “why” question is not one that expects an answer. It is more a cry lamenting the fractured, broken state of a world crippled by evil and sin. We know that hardships, suffering, and pain are facts of life, especially for followers of Christ. In 1 Peter 4:12, Peter advised believers scattered across the region, “Don’t be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.” John 16:33 says, “In this world you will have trouble.” In Psalm 34:19, David says, “A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.” David would know. He faced one giant-sized problem after another in his life. 

There is nothing wrong with asking why. Some of the godliest people in the Bible did. But it’s not a question that expects an answer. Thank God that He does not condemn us when we come to Him with questions. The truth is that all our answers can only be found in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is therefore wise to learn that, when going through hardships, we must fix our eyes on Jesus who is “the author and perfecter of our faith”. 

We should also ask “What now, Lord?” as that is a question filled with expectation and anticipation at what God will do next. Focusing on the Lord (who He is) and “what” (the work He is doing in your life, or a spiritual exercise or discipline the Lord is teaching you in suffering) instead of the “why” fills us with hope.

As we focus on the who and the what, we understand why 1 Peter 1:6 says, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trial.”

Leni B

About Leni B

Leni B is a wife and mom to two teenagers, who loves the God of the Bible. Apart from ministering at home, she helps lead a Bible study for a small group of women as they study, and find strength from, God's infallible Word together.



Get a notification in your Inbox

A weekly brief of new resources and Scripture-based insights from our editorial team.