I remember when my oldest son first started asking questions about life and the world around him. It was amazing to watch him think through what he learned and make sense of it all. “Mommy, why are germs bad?” “Mommy, how does the car radio work?” “Mommy, will there be Legos in heaven?”
The Questions of Life
Just as my children ask questions about life, I have questions of my own. When the storms of life come upon me suddenly, I immediately ask, “Why is this happening to me?” That is followed shortly by “How can I get this to stop?” As the trial rages on, I ask, “What’s going to happen to me? When will it end? Where can I find the cause to keep this from happening again?”
Questions such as “Why?” and “How?” are questions we all ask in the face of hardship and trial. I don’t know about you, but my first response to such questions usually involves searching for the answer. I tend to do what the rest of our society does when faced with a problem: I google it, search blogs and pins, or look for the latest self-help book. If that doesn’t work, I will worry and fret and then maybe find something to distract me like shopping, eating, or watching hours of Netflix.
Yet Scripture shows us a different response. It shows us that we can bring these and all our questions to God. The psalmist had hard questions about life, just like we do. He too wanted to know why difficult things were happening to him and how long he would have to endure them. He brought those questions right to God in a prayer of lament. “How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?” (Psalm 13:1–2). “Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” (Psalm 10:1).
The Psalms show us that asking questions is a normal response to the painful circumstances of life. We need to bring those questions to God — not in a defiant, shake-our-fists-in-the-air kind of way like the Israelites did during the desert wanderings, but as one who trusts that God hears and that he cares. We ask these questions because we know that God is the source of all our answers. Just as our children come to us with all their questions, we need to come to our Heavenly Father with everything that is on our heart.
The One Question
While questions such as, “Why?” “How?” and “What?” are all questions our hearts naturally cry out and are questions we ought to ask, there is one question we don’t want to fail to ask. This question is one that God loves to answer: “Who?” This question asks: Who will save me? Who will give me mercy? Who will rescue me? Who loves me, unconditionally? Who knows my every thought? Who cares for my every need? Who sustains me?
The psalmist didn’t ask “Why?” and “How long?” and leave it at that. He stayed in the journey and moved forward, focusing his heart on who God is, what he has done, and what he has promised for his people. As he dwelled on those truths, the psalmist found the answer to the one question we always need to ask. “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me” (Psalm 13:5–6). “But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless” (Psalm 10:14).
As the psalmist concluded, God is the answer. He is the one who loves, who saves, and who helps. On this side of redemptive history, Jesus is the answer to our question of “Who?” He is the answer to the deepest longings of our heart. He is the source of all our hope, our peace, our love, our strength, our salvation, and our life. He is our everything, and without him, we are nothing.
“We serve a God who wants us to cry out to him with all the questions on our heart.”
God doesn’t promise to answer all of our questions. Like Job, we may never know why some things have happened to us. But in Christ, he has given us the answer to what we desperately need most:
- Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35)
- “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28–29)
- Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 24–25)
We serve a God who wants us to cry out to him with all the questions on our heart. Sometimes he answers those questions, and sometimes he does not. But the one question he always answers is “Who?” And when we know the answer to “Who?” we’ve found the answer to the most important question we could ever ask.