I’m Ken Jones, and this is A Classic State of Mind, with A Word About … “The Question”
It is, perhaps, the most famous question in all the world. A one-word interrogative; a singular syllable, opening the door to the query that begs definition. Not a ‘what’ question, asking for definition. Not a ‘when’ question, that would need a clock or a calendar to answer. Not ‘where,’ as if some place, or some identifiable spot was being sought out by Google maps. And not, ‘how.’ Not the question about process or methodology. The what, when, where, and how questions are certainly important, and they are asked by human beings every day, all day long. But the most famous question, the question most of us ask most often?
It is the question, “Why?”
The context of the asking of the ‘why’ question is most often some life circumstance that seems beyond our ability to comprehend or absorb or tolerate. I once had a discussion with a young man who sought me out, I guess hoping I could help him answer that ‘Why?’ question. He said, “God must be trying to show me something I’m too blind to see. I just don’t know WHY God is doing what He’s doing.”
I decided to put my life coaching hat on for a bit, so I asked some coaching questions: Simple questions, in one sense, I suppose:
- Exactly ‘what’ is God doing in your life? His answer: Well, that’s just it; I don’t know what he’s doing. “So,” I said, “You’re asking God why He’s doing what you don’t know He’s doing?” (Silence …as he smiled.)
- You said, “God must be trying to show me something I’m too blind to see.” When you look at your life and how God has dealt with you in the past, what examples do you have of times when God was ‘trying’ to do something? (Again, there was Silence) I finally said, ‘The reason you’re struggling to remember a time when God tried to do something is that there has never a time in your life when God ‘tried’ to do something; there’s never been a time in the history of the universe when God tried to do anything. God doesn’t try; God says, “Let there be …” and there is.
- One other question: “What causes you to believe your ‘blindness’ is really ‘blindness?’ His answer: “Well, if I’m not blind, then why can’t I see what God is doing?”
We spent the next twenty minutes or so discussing what we can see and what we can’t. But the essence of our dialogue revolved around this gigantic and often unrehearsed truth: Isa. 55:8 ““For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.”
When God instructed His prophet to write those words down, I don’t think he was kidding. I think He meant it when he said He doesn’t think like I think. And He certainly doesn’t act like I act. Life’s circumstances are orchestrated by a Sovereign God who has a plan for me; a plan to prosper me, and not to harm me. A plan to give me hope and a future.
Yes, but Why did I lose my job?
Why did I have to get sick?
Why did this have to happen to me?
There are ten million ways and reasons the ‘why’ question can be framed and asked. But, honestly and in the grand scheme of things, if we are under the sovereign control of the God who created us, the God who knows the plan He has for us — well, then, asking that question is not unlike the clay asking the Potter, “Why have you made me thus?”
When my understanding of the ways of God is so limited, the only reasonable answer to my one word, “Why?” question is a one-word answer that demands trust and faith to accept;
“Why?” It may very well be the most famous, one-word question ever asked; a question that most of the time is destined to be answered with a one-word puzzling response:
It is the word: “Because.”