Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The "why" question

I have a friend who had a baby last week, a 29 weeker as they call her.  That means she was pulled from her safe, warm, comfortable womb 11 weeks too early.  I have another friend who had her baby just yesterday, 2 weeks late.  One is so tiny you can cover her hand with a quarter.  One so big he looks old somehow.  I have another friend who has conceived 6 babies and lost 5… I deeply grieve for her because I have lost 5 of my own.

It begs the question, why? Why do some mothers pop out babies with ease and why do some get no chance at bearing children at all?  I had a friend who has had 5 maybe 6 children (I lost count) She was addicted to cocaine. Every child had a different father and every child was wild, sad, and angry.  I cringed when she got pregnant because of the circumstance I knew her child would be raised in. But somehow our sovereign God allowed children to come and somehow for others seemingly more worthy, He does not. Why? I asked the question over and over as her babies lived and my babies died at 20 weeks gestation.

I don’t know the answer to that question. Why do some get cancer and die as children and why do evil men sometimes live over 100 years.  I read of a convicted child molester who lived beyond his jail sentence.  Something the judge never expected to happen. At 90 some years old, he was a free man with every intention of re-offending and every opportunity. The legal system has no power to stop him because he had served his time.

Few people ever ask God why.  It’s frightening to imagine a God who is not good and if He is good, do we need to ask why?  I believe we do.  I recall my own children at a certain age asking the “why” question incessantly.  Why is the grass green? Why do the lights come on when you flip the switch? Why do dogs wag their tails? Why do they chase cats all the time? Why did my Grandfather get sick and die? Why are you going to the store?  Why do you mow the lawn? Why do you take out the garbage and why do they pick it up on Fridays?  Why can’t they pick it up on Saturday instead? It can be exhausting for Mom and Dad, but normal children with healthy curiosity ask why all the time.

Curiosity is vital.  Let’s question everything.  Why do we do what we do?  Why does the sun come up in the east? Will it come up in the west someday? Why is the grass green? Why did my baby die and her baby live? I believe that God wants to reveal His nature to us.  He wants us to intimately know Him.  How can we if we swallow our questions of confusion and grief?

I have spent many hours agonizing over that one question why.  Why, if you are sovereign did you allow me to be ravaged? Why if you are sovereign did my baby die? Somehow there is a different tone than just why is the grass green.  A child asks with trust in her heart.  She completely expects us to have a reasonable explanation… even when we don’t   But my questions of God were questions of judgment.  Are you good or evil?  I’m thinking of the child who has lost trust in their parent.  Their questions carry a different tone, one of assumed violation and deep hurt. When I have asked God why as if I were His judge, He doesn’t seem obliged to answer.  But when I have asked Him why, simply because I need to understand, He has been quick to give both explanation and comfort.

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