Why We Shouldn’t Ask “Why”

By In Faith, Lifestyle — March 24, 2015

My mind was racing as I sat in church, unable to focus.  Worship and announcements had just ended and the pastor had started his sermon.  I needed to get out, get some air.  I stood up, squeezed past my parents, and walked out the back door of the sanctuary.  I proceeded out of the front doors of the church, and walked straight ahead.  The church was fairly isolated, a large building sitting in the middle of a large prairie.  A gully made its way through the landscape on one side of the church, with some trees and a little trickle of water running through.  I made my way toward the trees, which were about an eighth mile away.

As I walked, I knew I needed to pray.  I didn’t want to pray.  I didn’t feel as if I had the words to say.  I felt so confused, overwhelmed, and broken.  So, I walked, and started a choppy conversation with God in my head.  As I approached the trees, I came upon a section of the field with glass strewn all over, covering an acre or two.  China, milk glass, beer bottles, and porcelain dinery were in shattered pieces.  As I made my way through the field of glass, I ceased my prayer and instead pondered what may have happened where I was walking.  I at first I thought that maybe someone had used the field as a shooting range, blowing the bottles and plates to bits.  However, upon further examination, there were no bullet shells among the glass.  So I walked on, speculating the whole way.

As I reached the edge of the deep gully where the trees were, I found a spot to sit that was void of the sharp shards of broken glass.  I took a seat in the soft dirt and allowed my mind to refocus on my conversation with God.  This time, I started to speak to Him verbally:

“Hey, um, I really don’t know where to start.  You know I’m hurting a lot right now.”

It was a casual conversation, as I often spoke to God.  But this time it was different.  I felt Him sit there across from me.  My words didn’t echo off the sides of the deep gully, they weren’t lost in the wind, they were received and welcomed.  I know that my words are always heard by God, but this time, I could feel Him listening.

The most natural thing I was wanting to ask was, “Why?”  Why had I been through so much lately?  Why did I just lose one of my best friends?  Why am I sitting on the edge of a gully alone while a church full of Christians sits behind me, none of them noticing my pain?  However, I felt God tugging at my heart, telling me that I have no right to ask “why?”

I was okay with that.  I continued praying:

“I’m not gonna ask you ‘why.’  I don’t have any right to.  You are God and I’m not.  It’s as simple as that.  You are in control, you have a plan, and that should be enough for me.  I only ask that you would continually walk with me, to make me aware of your presence in this time of pain.  I ask that you would soothe my pain and heal my wounds.  I ask that you would give me strength to carry on and to love those around me unconditionally.  I ask that you would give me hope to show the hopeless, and words to speak to the hurting.  I won’t ask you ‘why.’  I won’t even ask you to take away this trial.  I can only ask that you use this trial to grow me in ways that I have never grown before.”

The conversation lasted for about twenty minutes.  There was no “amen” at the end of the prayer.   When I am praying alone, I never say “amen.”  In its modern use, amen symbolizes finality.  Amen symbolizes an end to the conversation.  God and I are never done talking.  Therefore, it would be weird for me to say farewell when He is by my side all the time.

As I stood up from my spot on the ground, God stood up with me.  As I made my way back to the church, God walked right next to me.  I stopped to observe a piece of glass that reflected light with all the colors of the rainbow.  It was beautiful.  I wondered once more why the glass was even there.  But, why did it matter?  Why couldn’t I just enjoy the beautiful colors and enjoy the mystery?  I resolved that I would never know the origins of the field of glass.  In the same way, I found peace in the fact that I may never know why I am going through these tough times.

I knew that I should not be worried about how I was going to get through that time of brokenness, but rather, I was to step back, and look at the beautiful pieces that had resulted from my pain.  Just as glass is still beautiful when it shatters, a person can still find hope in their brokenness.

Matthew 28:20b

“Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.  Amen.”


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