Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation — Psalm 42:5
Adapted from the resource Battlefield of the Mind Devotional – by Joyce Meyer
As I think about the storms we all face in life, I can understand why people sometimes ask, “Why the storms? Why do we have so many problems and struggles in life? Why do God’s people have to deal with so much suffering?”
As I considered these questions, I began to see that Satan plants these questions in our minds. It is his attempt to keep us focused on our problems instead of focusing on the goodness of God. If we persist in asking these questions, we’re implying that God may be to blame. I don’t think it’s wrong to ask God why things happen. The writers of the psalms certainly didn’t hesitate to ask.
I think of the story of Jesus when He visited the home of Mary and Martha after their brother, Lazarus, died. Jesus waited until Lazarus had been dead for four days before He visited. When He arrived, Martha said to Jesus, Master, if You had been here, my brother would not have died (John 11:21 AMPC). She went on to say, And even now I know that whatever You ask from God, He will grant it to You (John 11:22 AMPC).
Did she really believe those words? I wonder, because Jesus said to her, Your brother shall rise again. Martha replied, I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day (John 11:23-24 AMPC). She didn’t get what Jesus was saying.
I don’t want to be unkind to Martha, but she missed it. When Jesus came, she didn’t ask, “Why didn’t You do something?” Instead she said, “If You had been here—if You had been on the job—he’d be alive.”
When Jesus assured her that Lazarus would rise again, she didn’t understand that it was going to happen right then. She could focus only on the resurrection. By looking at an event that was still in the future, she missed the real meaning of Jesus’ words for the present.
But aren’t many of us like Martha? We want our lives to run smoothly, and when they don’t, we ask why? But we really mean, “God, if You truly loved and cared for me, this wouldn’t have happened.”
Let’s think a little more about the “why” question. For example, when someone dies in an accident, one of the first questions family members ask is why? “Why her? Why now? Why this accident?”
For one moment, let’s say God explained the reason. Would that change anything? Probably not. The loved one is still gone, and the pain is just as severe as it was before. What, then, did you learn from the explanation?
In recent years, I’ve begun to think that “why” isn’t what Christians are really asking God. Is it possible that we’re asking, “God, do You love me? Will You take care of me in my sorrow and pain? You won’t leave me alone in my pain, will You?”
Is it possible that, because we’re afraid that God doesn’t truly care about us, we ask for explanations?
Instead, we must learn to say, “Lord God, I believe. I don’t understand, and I could probably never grasp all the reasons why bad things happen, but I can know for certain that You love me and You are with me—always.”
Prayer Starter: Heavenly Father, instead of asking for answers to the “why” questions, help me to focus on Your great love for me. When Satan tries to fill my mind with troublesome questions, help me to feel the protection of Your loving, caring arms around me. Help me always to show my gratitude and devotion for all that You do for me. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen