Unanswerable Questions

"He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him" (Psalm 91:15a).

Do your younger children drive you crazy with all their questions each day? With an insatiable desire to know "why," they ask a barrage of unending questions that homeschooling parents are forced to answer as best they can. Some questions like "Why is the sky blue?" and "Where do babies come from?" might set us back for a few minutes as we think of the best way to answer. However, other questions like "Why did Grandpa die?" and "Why did God let my sister get cancer?" pose a much bigger challenge. Sometimes, questions are simply unanswerable, and the "whys" of life's problems have no answer keys for us.

Like little children, countless men and women in the Bible also asked questions when they struggled through the "whys" of life's difficulties. Job's life is one such example. After suffering horrific loss of belongings, family, and health, he sat down and asked God "why" in Job 31. God never gave Job an outright answer, but He did counteract Job's question with a few questions of His own, including "Where were you when I created the world?" Confessing his ignorance in questioning a Holy God, Job reached the point of submissive humility and brokenness. "Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not" (Job 42:3).

Are you looking for some answers to the "whys" in your life? Are the pain and suffering you're experiencing causing you to wonder, "Where is God? Doesn't He know what is happening to me?" Perhaps God is taking you to a new level of trusting in Him, or He is trying to teach you a deeper truth. Either way, God has not left you. He sees your every tear and will deliver you in His time. Continue to hope in Him and wait for His answer! "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God" (Psalm 43:5).

Lord, I acknowledge that You alone are God. I lay my burden at Your feet and ask You to strengthen me to face this problem in my life. Even if I never know why, I will continue to trust in You and Your love for me. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Comments(27 comments)

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LYNDA B 01/29/2009 05:28:00

This is so true, Thanks for this devotional, In Jesus name.

JANELLE Z 01/29/2009 08:00:12

I usually love these devotionals, but I don't agree with the statement that God brings sickness on us to perhaps teach us a new truth. Sickness is from the devil - plain and simple - and let's not blame our marvelous, good God for something only the devil can take credit for.

NAOMI K 01/29/2009 10:16:48

I think the point here is that God ALLOWS sickness and death. So many people ask "Why would a LOVING God allow that?" and although we don't have all the answers, we must continue to have faith in HIm. For He knows all things, what is and what is to come. We must teach our children that no matter what happens in this life, God still cares for us.

MARIA G 01/29/2009 11:14:36

I will admit that it is in extremely difficult circumstances that my faith is tested. Doubt, fear, and a sense of hopelessness enters in whenever hardship, pain, and suffering enter my life. For instance, just a couple of days ago I tried to read Job, the same book that this great devotional refers to. I t is the same book that I try to go to for understanding whenever I am facing another unwanted problem. But I just could not even read it let alone undestand it. After my headache and sense of hopelessness continued, I decided to close my Bible. And I closed my eyes yearning for God to give me the faith and strenghth to help me. What I am trying to verbalize in writting is what I have been trying to make sense of in my heart and mind. God is all powerful, perfect, and righteous. The enemy of our souls cannot do anything to us without our God allowing it -- even if it seems painful to us. God will have His way! His Word tells us that He is working everything -- everything-- for the good of those that love Him and are called according to His purpose. Hence, I am trying to seek Him in this time of doubt and hopelessness. Because I know that if we continue to seek Him He will guide me right to His very Will. And as His children, is not His perfect Will what we must want above anything else?

SUSAN V 01/29/2009 22:18:56

Unanswerable Questions... Before I got online today and read this, the police came to my house to tell me my little brother had shot himself in the head. I have been through enough in my life to know not to question God, but sometimes it is so hard. My little brother, 42 years old, loved God and wanted to follow him but had a lifelong drug problem. I know a lot of people want to judge that situation and the horrible thing about suicide is you never get your questions answered. No one wants to say if they think he is in heaven or hell but I just keep thinking of God's mercy and grace. Please pray for my family now as we seeks God's healing and try to leave these questions at His feet. Thank you so much for this devotion. It has touched my lift today as it has often done in the past. Susan Valdez

MICHELE C 02/01/2009 13:05:25

Thank you for your thoughts in this e-mail. I find myself as an adult asking God "why" when things do not go according to my plans/hopes. Our family has had it's share of heart ache with life long sickness, loss, miscarriages ,etc... But, I believe that we can choose to grow during our trials. God is not punishing us... but we do live in a world of sin. We need to use our joys and hardships to help others. To me it is like laughing in Satan's face when we use our difficult circumstances to share the love and forgiveness of Christ. We go thru things to gain perspective. No, it does not always make sense. I think asking questions is the first step in healing. For me, it is a way of being intimate with my Maker. So, thank you for addressing the question that we all ask. Shelly Proverbs 3:5-6

SHARON W 01/29/2010 07:50:53

In answer to Janelle's post: Yes, sickness comes because we live in a fallen world. However, if we say that God doesn't allow it, we are discrediting the omnipotence of God. He uses every situation for His glory. We just have to trust Him. His ways (and the ultimate good) are so much higher than ours.

SUSAN H 01/29/2011 04:17:55

Susan V - I believe in a God of mercy and grace. May God bring you and your family much comfort during this tragedy. In Christian bonds - Susan H.

SUZANNE N 01/29/2011 05:11:01

I think that we must put ourselves in perspective to God. Only He is perfect and without blemish, we are imperfect and a good deal of what happens to us is a consequences of our actions or those around us. It also could be generational sin reaching us as well. God has never promised to take this away, but rather to see us through it always offering us His gift of eternity (where we will suffer no more). I once read; If God allowed you to be thrown into a pit, you weren't picked on, you were picked out. God entrusted that suffering to you because he has faith in you....live up to it, all the way up. He loves us, he loves us, he loves us!

COLENE W 01/29/2011 06:00:04

Hosea 6:1 says " come , let us return to the Lord. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us. We have to take the bad things that God allows in our lives and turn them into GLORY for HIS name! He is our perfect healer and protector. His love for us is never-ending. Although we can't see the big picture this side of Heaven, we have to trust that He does! He loves us and is working out our salvation.

CRYSTAL M 01/29/2011 06:31:48

Susan V. my heart goes out to you. You and your family will be in my prayers. My father committed suicide 11 years ago. I have struggled with many questions also. But I have come to the conclusion that God is good and even when I don't see fully He does. I have also come to believe through my Dad's passing that God is the only one who knows where someone is at when they're to that point and I believe His heart of compassion allows Him to extend mercy. Praying for you with love in Christ, Crystal M.

WENDY S 01/29/2011 07:29:12

Great discussion...good replies... Ladies, may I suggest that you read the book from John Piper entitled 'Spectacular Sins and their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ.' God has used it to bring me to a whole new level of thinking. It is fabulous. God uses His permissive will in ALL things . To say less, is to say that God is not in control over Satan. He also does it without sin to Himself and to bring full glory to Him and accomplish his plan which has been laid out before the beginning of time. I'm so excited about this..It makes everything that happens to you, as hard as it is, ok...:)

RHONDA G 01/29/2011 07:35:11

I would like to share a children's book that I recently published with you regarding this. It's great for discussion with your children and as a gift book for someone who has suffered loss. The title is Wind Song by Rhonda S. Green. Thank you, Rhonda

JEN B 01/29/2012 07:12:14

Susan V there is a book that helped me after my Mom committed suicide several years ago. It is a Christian book that helps guid you through the grieving process. It is also written by survivors themselves family who have been there where you are today. Please look into it: http://www.amazon.com/Finding-after-Suicide-Someone-ebook/dp/B000SIFDHY/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1327845833&sr=1-3-fkmr1 Just cut and past the link above the title is Finding Your Way after the Suicide of Someone You Love by David Biebel you can buy it used for $0.57 It was a life saver for me and I have shipped many to others. Please take the time to look into it. Will be praying for you, Jen

ANNA F 01/29/2012 09:43:07

I just want to respond to Janelle's post on sickness being from the devil-to which I agree. I continue to see Christians saying that it is God's will for people to have cancer and die. The majority of illnesses come from bad lifestyle and emotional problems, so I don't believe that God who made many medicinal plants for us to find healing through prayer and His many natural resources condones this. This is like saying that a chain smoker did not get cancer because of smoking. It is not God's will for a chain smoker to get cancer and die because of it. Please stop puting Christians down that believe in God and His resources for healing. I know a woman who because she prayed and looked for answers to her health problems received complete healing of Liver cancer with God's Natural Resources to which she was led after praying for guidance. Anna

KATHY S 01/29/2012 11:17:38

First, Susan V. my deepest sympathy to you. I will keep you in my prayers. I don't know why things happen, and I would never Judge in any way. I beieve it was Jesus who said "Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone". So I beieve that applies to every situation and every person. Personally, I struggle with a cigarette addiction. I have cut down to a few a day, with the help of some "Blu" electronic cigarettes, with no nicotine or carcinogens in them, and with alot of prayer. Sadly how people can be judgemental in situations though. I was on the "coffee/cookie" team at our church, I had only been attending there a few months, and the ladies were talking to me so nicely. "Smoking" came up in our conversation, and I got looks as if I had the plague. (please note, I love my church and the people in it) I kindly looked at all my new lady friends in Christ and said " I believe it was Joyce Meyer who said in her Christian walk, she started her Bible study groups with a cigerette in one hand and a Bible in the other". The ladies couldn't believe it, "joyce Meyer"? really?? My one dear friend hates smoke, but is addicted to chocolate. A close family member hates alcohol, but I think has "Obsessive Compulsive disorder". My other friend is a "kids clothes shopping addict", that doesn't sound bad , right? Bankruptcy. But, years ago, I've been there too. I pray nightly, actually I CLAIM in Jesus name that God spares me from cancer until I end my habit and beyond. I think Everyone has some type of addiction, all we can do is pray for healing of whatever addiction we have. My eyes were healed years ago, I was only about 18, undeserving, and not attending church or even completely "saved". But God heard my prayer and answered it. Why, he loves me and he is a merciful God My brother, got "bladder cancer", never smoked or drank or did any kind of drugs, doesn't even believe in tylenol. He did use natural resources as the lady mentioned above. A whole hugely expensive, but all natural everything in his house, all raw vegetables and seeds is how he eats, but, God, and this diet healed him, 6 years now, no cancer. I'm thankful he has that kind of money and discipline, I'm thankful he is here. My Father was an alcoholic, my son has a form of autism, what is God's plan or will for things I don't know, but, I trust and Love him, and will continue to until I meet him one day in heaven.

CORY B 01/29/2012 13:44:47

I agree with Janelle that evil and suffering is from Satan ALONE. To blame God for the unspeakable evil and suffering is just to be blinded to the truth as Satan wishes us to be. All good thing come from God. He DOES ALLOW evil to exist for a time till he brings his kingdom that we pray for but in the end he hates it even more than we do. To even think that He would CAUSE little children and innocents to suffer is just not from scripture. My mother has stg 3 ovarian cancer, my grandmother just had a massive stroke and I am finishing treatment for DOUBLE breast cancer. I am certainly no stranger to suffering, but I know my loving God doesnt cause this, just as it was Satan that CAUSED Jobs suffering. Love you all but I'm very sad about those that gave a negative rating to Janelle a fellow homeschooling parent that just stated her opinion. If we cant even love each other for our similarities, how does that make us ANY different at all from those in 'the World" ??

BRENDA C 01/29/2012 13:45:50

Susan V. - My heart goes out to you and your family, as well. I know you feel as if your whole life has changed forever. I cannot relate with the suicide issue but will pray for you.

AUDRA K 01/29/2012 15:47:29

Susan V- praying for you and your family.

ANDREA D 01/29/2012 18:19:31

It's nice to read some of these comments, but isn't it the point in a comment section to state your opinion whether you agree or not. To say that it's wrong for someone to point out error is wrong. We are supposed to point out error if we see it (as Christians)....Pro 27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. To say it's wrong for others to give someone a negative opinion is negative in itself and you have just did what you told others not to doand that's more like the world than what some of these other ladies have said (which is reproof and rubuke2Tim 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.). Let's keep God's Word at the focus and back what we say up with itremember Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? God Bless, Andrea

CORY B 01/30/2012 07:52:24

Andrea, yes the point is too make a comment. However, since Janelle is not wrong according to scripture, then I dont understand why she needs to be \'rebuked and reproved\'?? And I\'m not sure what the \'deceitful heart\" scripture was for? On that point,, I\'ve seen a lot \'rebuking\' but no scriptural basis for the belief that Satan is not the cause of evil. Here are a few scriptures you may want to look up.... 1. Rom 3:23 - \'All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God\". Yes a lot of the problems we have are a result of sin and imperfection and some stupid things we do. However the scale of the evil (murder, kidnapping, terrorism, rape, war, diseases) even here in the USA is just unbelievable. 2. When JESUS was on earth he brought (in a small scale) some relief from these problems by healing the sick, raising the dead etc. So you would have thought the Jewish religious leaders of that time would have been excited or at least appreciated Him. We know they did not. JESUS then exposed them for what they truly were, from Satan. Matt 23:33, 35 - \'You are from your father the devil and you wish to do the desires of your father. That one was a manslayer when he began and he did not stand fast in the truth, because the truth is not in him. When he speaks the lie he speaks according to his own disposition, because he is a father and the father of the lie.\' 3. 1st John 5:19 - \'The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one\'. Would Gods world be filled with such horrible suffering as it is now? I at least dont believe so. Rev 12:7-12 tells us that the devil has only a \"short period of time left\" so he is out to cause as much pain as possible. 4. Ephesians 6:11,12,13 - goes on about the \"wrestling \'we have not against flesh and blood but against the wicked spirit creature Satan an that we need to gird ourselves with faith etc. to protect ourselves. 5. 2nd Tim 3:1-5 - Satan will be destroyed along with evil. Rev 20: 1-3, 7-10. 1 John 3:8. 6. \'God will wipe out every tear from their eyes and death will be no more neither will pain or outcry, the former things have passed away.\'

CORY B 01/30/2012 08:20:24

Opps, forgot to show a few scriptures showing that God is all loving and would not be the cause of evil. 1. Psms 145: 17 - \'God is righteous in ALL his ways\'. Rev 15: 3. 2. Deuteronomy 13: 4 - \'Perfect is his activity, All His ways are justice. A God of faithfulness with whom their is NO injustice. Righteous and upright is he\'. 3.God cannot and does not cause wickedness. 4. James 1:13 - When under trial, LET NO ONE SAY: \'I AM BEING TRIED BY GOD\" FOR WITH EVIL THINGS GOD CANNOT BE TRIED NOR DOES HE HIMSELF TRY ANYONE. \' Can give some more scriptures later but I need to get back to school. Reading the kiddos \'WAR HORSE\" and they really like it.!! : )

ANDREA D 01/30/2012 09:46:26

I am well aware and very familiar with the scriptures you referred to. Thanks for taking the time to quote them. My point in saying those things was to say that we should not trust our heart or feelings to explain things, but to look to God's word (just a friendly reminder was all). Also, I agree that God is all powerful and all-knowing and lovingand HE ALLOWS in his perfect knowledge things to happen that are evil and wicked along with things that are loving and nicewe live in a fallen world (of course). God chooses when to intervene or not to. So that (Rom 8:27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. ) (Rom 8:28 And) we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. God will chasten those that belong to Him if neededjust as a loving mother chastens her child when needed (Heb. 12:6-7). God is lovingwhich includes both lovingly carrying you along when you need it, blessing you, and chastening you. We serve an amazing God that He knits each circumstance together knowing it's for our good and to be for HIS gloryand to think He does that for each of His children.amazing!

BARBARA S 01/30/2012 13:11:32

SusanV. I am so sorry for your loss. I have a brother that struggles with alcoholism. So many times he has disappeared and we have feared the worst. So far, he still fights the war of his body\'s dependency on alcohol. I believe that God is God and He is holy and righteous. Frankly, though, what I believe about God is of no consequence because my beliefs do not affect God\'s character at all. He is righteous, full of mercy, full of grace and full of love because of Himself alone. If your brother was saved, he is in the arms of Jesus no matter the circumstances of his death. God is the one who gives salvation and nothing we can do changes His gift. Rest in the knowlegde that God is good and that He keeps His promises. His mercies endure forever and are new each morning.

WILMA B 01/30/2012 20:04:06

Susan V. We will be praying for you too. Thanks for trusting everyone here to pray with and for you!

J B 01/31/2012 00:09:28

In response to Janelle who feels that Satan is the cause of sickness..etc. Refer to Romans 9:18 - God will have mercy on whom he chooses and will harden whom he chooses.... The book of Job I read and read and read ....there is alot there. Here was a faithful man and he endured all manner of tests.... did he deserve what all happened to him? To us , probably not. God prepares us... if you do not know what sorrow is like, can you then measure true joy? A long time ago during college , I earned credits in volunteer work at a counseling center....we underwent intense training for numerous types of counseling that was needed...one being handling suicide calls... during this training one of the volunteers \"broke\" in a session(role play) when every possible solution/suggestion she gave the \"suicide caller\" was rejected. She sobbed in class, \"...I have never had anything bad happen to me....I\'ve had a wonderful life so far...\" She could not relate. So in sickness and tragedy, I feel that God is preparing us...He is giving us the choice to seek Him and His grace, His mercy, and perhaps repentance if it is needed. Perseverance takes great faith..... Of course people will have different opinions...if you don\'t understand ask God for understanding, if He doesn\'t choose to reveal it to you, accept it for that and move forward and pray....and praise! JB

Kelly Sergent 01/29/2014 14:39:58

Last month, I buried my third baby. I have been struggling with this. My biggest question is if God can and does intervene (which is seen in scripture and I'm sure you have all witnessed a miracle or two), then why didn't He intervene for me? If God is trying to teach me something, then I surely don't get it. If God is choosing to allow suffering in my life because of my past sins, or those of my ancestors, I suppose I deserve it, but why should my two young children suffer with me? This all goes back to the age-old question presented in Job: Why do bad things happen to good people? Susan,you will be in your prayers. I don't know what denomination you are, but I'm Catholic and the Holy See has said that those who commit suicide are NOT on a straight path to hell. Those who commit suicide have a mental illness and are "not in their right mind" when making a decision such as that. A family member committed suicide several years ago, and this brought me relief. I hope it does to you too.

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