The atmosphere in the auditorium was heavy that day at the seminar I attended with about 200 women from all over the United States.
The speaker had shared with us that when difficult circumstances arise, God will reveal to us the reason He allowed that circumstance in our lives. He then sent us back to our rooms with an assignment to recall a difficult situation we'd encountered and then ask God to reveal the reason behind it.
He couldn't possibly have predicted what could arise from such an assignment.
After a period of time, we returned to the auditorium where we shared our experiences. And then a girl stood up and, crying, said that God hadn't revealed to her why He allowed a man to rape her.
As much as the speaker tried to explain to her what the answer could possibly be, he didn't succeed. And the reason for that is this:
If you want the right answer, you must start by asking the right question.
When we lose someone close to us, when we get laid off of our job, when financial reversals send life as we know it into a tailspin, when our children make choices that go against everything we taught them was moral and right, when natural disaster rips away from us everything we own, when a drunk driver hits our car and leaves us injured for life, we are tempted to ask, "Why God? Why me?"
After losing everything except his wife and home, Job succumbed to this temptation in Job 31. He listed all of the good things he had done, as if God only allows good things to happen to us when we do good things to others.
That would be nice, but it's not the way life goes. In fact, bad things do happen to good people (let us remember Romans 3:10—no one is truly good or righteous apart from the blood of Jesus), and good things happen to bad people.
Soon God finally interrupts the dialogue between Job and his so-called friends in chapter 38 to remind Job of his proper place. Job became angry when he didn't get an answer to his question, "Why?" Why me? Why didn't God protect me? Why is God against me? Why must I suffer like this?
And we will never receive an answer to questions such as those, because God doesn't owe us an answer. He is Almighty God. He owes no man anything.
And this is where the speaker at that conference went wrong. He gave us the impression that God owed us an answer to why we must suffer.
If the right question isn't why, what should we ask instead?
"God, what do you want to teach me from this situation?" "What do you want to do in me through this situation?"
"God, how do you want me to respond in this situation?" How can I honor You through this?"
You see, rather than the question "Why?" that accuses God, the questions "What?" and "How?" open our hearts to God.
When we choose to open our hearts to God in these difficult situations, He can do something wonderful in the end so that through our lives and through the difficult situation, He is glorified.
This post was inspired by the book: Grieving with Hope by Samuel J. Hodges
Rosilind Jukic, a Pacific Northwest native, is a missionary living in Croatia and married to her hero. Together they live in the country with their two active boys, where she enjoys fruity candles and a hot cup of herbal tea on a blustery fall evening. She holds an associate's degree in practical theology and is passionate about discipling and encouraging women. Her passion for writing led her to author a number of books. She is the author of A Little R & R where she encourages women to find contentment in what God created them to be. She can also be found at these other places on a regular basis. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google +.
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