Why God? It is just a two…..word…….prayer. I think it’s probably the #1 prayer. And we all pray it in many forms and fashions. It can be prayed as an eloquent, highly “spiritual” prayer designed to impress God and elicit His immediate attention. It can come out unexpectedly in anger and blame. Remember Mary when she informed Jesus that Lazarus would not have died if he had arrived earlier? There was clearly some anger and blame there. I’ve done that myself more than I care to remember. The prayer can come sincerely from a broken heart in need of consoling. It can be left unspoken but quietly asked in the mind as life marches on.
This prayer is said all the time by believers and even non-believers all over the world and it usually asked after some tragedy. Some have said that God simply does not answer this prayer. I disagree but I will admit that God does not seem overly concerned with answering this question and certainly not on our timetable. He is God after all and we are not.
So what do we as believers do when our hard questions are answered with silence? Or perhaps worse, our hard question is answered with a response that leaves us more confused? This happens quite often in scripture. Remember in John 6 when Jesus purposely gave a hard answer to a hard question? He answered the religious leaders’ question about Him being the “Bread of Life” by saying, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.”
Uh oh, Jesus is starting to sound like a cult leader right? This was such a hard answer that the scripture tells us, “On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” And further, “From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.” They stopped following Him in this case because He GAVE an answer they were not prepared for and did not understand. The answer was not that difficult when understood with “spiritual eyes.” But they interpreted it from their flesh and “the natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14).” They needed the “mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).” And so do we when God is silent or gives us answers we do not understand.
I have seen believers grow cold in their faith because of unanswered questions or answers they did not want or understand. They have asked “Why God?” because the church did them wrong, the Pastor hurt them, a marriage was not saved, a sickness persisted without relief, financial disaster hit, an unexpected death occurred and all sorts of other dashed expectations. I really do understand the bewilderment and hurt of dashed expectations but we will all face these types of difficulties in this life. We live in a fallen, broken world. In John 16:33 Jesus promises us that we, “will have tribulation in this world.” None of us are immune from dashed expectations whether we are believers or not. What then should be our response as believers pressing onto maturity?
Let’s look at Peter’s response to Jesus further down in John Chapter 6. “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You alone have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
We need to be like Peter. I do not think Peter understood the somewhat response of Jesus at this point but Peter stood on what he absolutely did know. We may hear silence now or receive an answer we do not understand but we stand on what we know…….on Him whom we know. We continue to believe in His goodness, His plan, His omniscience and His impeccable character. Hang on to the only one that has all the answers. In time, you will see the hand of God in your life and your hindsight will be 20-20. Accept the timetable of God and put your questions on hold. David wrote in Psalms 31:15, “My times are in your hands.” Eventually you will see the handy work of God.
And in the meantime, “who else has the words of eternal life?” He is the Messiah.
Be encouraged! More to come in Part Two.