One of the most common questions ever asked is ‘Why’?
We ask and are asked this question possibly more often than any other.
Why did this young boy have to die? Why did she get cancer? Why is there so much death? Why does God allow evil? Why did a marriage fail? Why did become an addict?
Why can’t she get over her addiction? Why did my parents have to get divorced? Why did he kill himself? Why is life so difficult? Why are some people so mean? Why does he get the breaks and I’m always struggling just to survive? Why did the church split?
Why didn’t I get that job I wanted?
When life is not going the way we think it should, and sometimes when it is, we wonder why it is happening. I believe Paul, the writer of most of the New Testament letters, gives the best answer that I have heard as to why bad things happen.
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. (2 CORINTHIANS 1:8-9)
Paul’s answer to the question of why: So that we might not rely on ourselves but on God.
God knew, and mankind has proven Him right over and over, that from the time we are born, we crave control over our lives. When life seems out of control, we panic. When our plans seem to be straying from what we had intended or hoped for, we grasp to try to gain control and often demand an explanation.
Well-meaning and misinformed advisors will tell us that bad things happen to us because we have sinned or violated one or more of God’s laws. That is a valid explanation if we have sinned or violated one or more of God’s laws. But what about the person who has done neither of these?
Of course, we all are sinners and we all violate God’s laws, but Jesus made it clear that suffering is not necessarily the result of sin.
As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world”. (1-5)
Jesus and Paul offer the same answer as to why bad things happen. There is a bigger reason than punishment. There is something going on more than teaching us a lesson. The purpose is about something and someone greater than us.
God wants us to rely on Him.
He wants us to rely on Him not because He wants to dominate or control us, but because He has the answers we are looking for. He wants us to rely on Him because He is the One who can and will fulfill all of our needs. He is the power we need.
God is not a tyrant who wants to overpower or dominate us. He is a loving God who wants to empower us to live the life He has created for us. He knows what we need.
He wants us to rely on Him and He wants us to use our experiences to help others. If you read the paragraph that precedes the one we are referring to, you will see that there is another purpose to our struggle in addition to relying on God.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. (2 Corinthians 1:3-7)
We are to learn from our experiences and share what we learn. When we struggle, there are valuable lessons for why it happened that God wants us to share. We were comforted and thus should give comfort. We received compassion and thus should be compassionate.
There is always an answer to why. It may not be what we expect or hope for. But we need to accept it is what is best to meet our needs. There is always a gift if we can have the patience and courage to look for it.
So, if you are in the midst of a battle or struggle, or you feel defeated, rely on Him. He can help. Then share it with someone else who you know is struggling. That, if nothing else, will always be the gift.
A Norvell Note © Copyright 2017. Tom Norvell All Rights Reserved.