So often, especially when we are distressed, we cry out to God, “Why is this happening?” So often we ask the big questions: why does suffering happen; why is there pain if God is so good; why did my wife die so young?
And the silence is deafening. You listen for the Voice to explain things, like He does so often, and yet on these questions, when it seems so really important, He doesn’t say anything. You can almost feel Him looking at you with His huge compassion…
I think the reason for this silence is that the answer is so deep, so embedded in God’s purposes, so unable to be put into words, that there’s no way He’d do it justice with a short answer. Such an answer wouldn’t, in fact, answer the question, because the answer is too immense. In some ways it’s almost as if the answer is “Wait and see!” (although there’s a little more to it than that, as we shall see).
Because, only now, after my entire adult lifetime of following Him and learning to hear His voice; learning to hear His heartbeat; learning to feel the gentle breeze of His Spirit’s guidance; living through the very worst thing that could happen to me (Job 3:25); do I begin to get the slightest inkling of understanding, what it’s all about; the answer to “Why?”; the reason for the silence that denies me the quick, easy answer.
And I still can’t tell you “why.”
But I am beginning to discern the slightest shadow of an inkling of an answer–though I can’t put it into words. This kind of answer is only discerned, not learned, and even then only by actually living through the answer itself. I can’t teach this. But I do trust Him. And that in itself is part of the answer; learning to trust Him and hearing the answers are both part of the same plan.
The answer does not, cannot, come straight away, nor in one minute or ten. It doesn’t come in a week or even a year. No, these answers take a lifetime for us to even begin to understand, to do more than simply scratch the surface. When, eventually, we have trusted God so much, so often, and for so long, that trust does indeed form part of the answers. And each experience we have with God, the joy, the suffering, the standing with others in need, the worship; each of these events generates for us another tiny sliver of understanding; another tiny piece of the big picture of both our elusive answer and God’s purpose.
In a very real sense, God is honoring us by not simply fobbing us off with a short, trite answer to our questions, because there simply isn’t such an answer that would carry any meaning. Therefore, we have to be patient and learn through life itself; this is the only way in which the answers would carry any meaning, because we would have learned them through actual experience and lived the answers for ourselves.
Big questions deserve big answers, and these take a lifetime to hear and to learn. So when you ask the Big Questions, just imagine Jesus holding out His hand to you, silently saying, “Walk with me. I’ll show you as we go.” And He will.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose” – Rom 8:28
Photo via Pixabay.
About Tony Cutty
Tony Cutty is the author of the blog “Flying in the Spirit.” He works as a professional scientist as well as running his own small business. He’s also a pianist, worship leader, light aircraft Pilot, military historian and amateur astronomer. He has three grown-up children and two grandchildren, and lives in the south-west of England.