Answering the “WHY” :: by Alice Johnson Childs

The world in which we live has gone spiraling out of control. Every day (sometimes multiple times a day) there is a new tragedy unfolding, whether it is from natural disasters, or more and more frequently, from violence and bloodshed caused by Man himself.

We here in America have largely been spared the violence perpetrated upon our citizenry by fanatical persons or groups, but that is rapidly changing as we suffer more and more violence loosed upon our shores and within our own neighborhoods. During times of crises whether personal, national, or global, the human heart has always cried out with gut wrenching pain and pathos, “WHY GOD, WHY?”

Those of us who know the Lord and are known by Him as His children, must be able to give an answer to a lost, frightened, and hurting world. We will not, of course, be able to give a specific answer to each specific tragedy that occurs, for we can never know or comprehend the infinite mind of our holy Creator.

But we who know and belong to the living God do have answers that the lost and dying desperately need to hear. We have been given access to the source of wisdom and discernment through God’s own Word to us—the Bible, and we should and must point the lost, the confused, the hurting, and the weary to the God of Glory who has revealed Himself, His plan, and the destiny of all creation. Those answers are to be found within the pages of His written Word.

This is the reason that we must, at all cost, return to the biblical study of sound doctrine; for therein lies the truth that so many are seeking and that so few are finding in the failing times in which we live. There, within the pages of Holy Scripture, lies the answers to the great cries of “WHY.”

We are told by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in 1 Peter 3:15 that we are to “be ready ALWAYS] to give an answer to every man that asks a REASON for the hope that is in you [us].”

We are expected to be equipped enough to be able to go to the Scriptures and expound from them answers that give hope to those who are in such desperate need. We, as modern Christians are so lacking in our own command and understanding of scripture that we are not able to give reasoned answers.

For the vast majority, the modern church has made and fashioned an “image’ of God that is nothing more than a touchy-feely, happy-talk god who bears no resemblance to the real God of Glory. This “god” is nothing more than a false, imaginary “god” with no more power or reality than a clay figurine.

So what do we say to those who are genuinely hurting; what comfort do we give to the broken, the angry, the confused, the hurting, the frightened, and the lost? Do we give them platitudes? Do we give them only half-truths, or worse, do we just slink away and give them no answers at all because we ourselves do not really have enough grounding in sound doctrine to answer them back?

If this is how we respond, then shame on us! We can and must become better equipped to minister than this! So then, what do we say to “WHY?”

First of all, we point them to the person of God who reveals Himself as the SOVEREIGN LORD—the One who not only created everything (Genesis 1:1; John 1), but the One who has destined and planned the “” from the beginning” (Isaiah 46:9-11).

We tell of His sovereignty—that there is NOTHING that happens that takes Him by surprise, and that He is in complete control of all things; that it is He who is bringing all things to a conclusion that He not only foreknew and planned, but that He revealed in all of history (past and future) to ALL who are willing to study His Word. He is the sovereign God who has let all of humanity “in” on His plans for time and eternity!

Next, we distinguish that this same God who made everything and pronounced it “very good,” did so ALREADY KNOWING that His prized and greatly loved creation “made in His image” would rebel and betray Him. And, knowing this fact from before He ever spoke the first particle of matter into existence, He (God the Father) had already purposed to send Jesus (God the Son) to die to bring redemption to fallen mankind; in order that He (Jesus Christ) might pay the penalty for the sins of all of the descendants of Adam’s race, so that “all who (will) call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

He did this because “ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), for there is “none righteous, no not one” (Romans 3:10). First, we must explain that bad things happen because “all have sinned.” This fallen nature that infects all of mankind is the result of sin. Sin brought about the death of all things. Everything in the created universe is degenerating as a result of sin, and sin exists because of a rebellious heart.

We further explain that the BAD NEWS is that as the human drama unfolds, Jesus, unlike the leader or god of any other religion, was HONEST and told us exactly what will occur as human history draws to a close and WHY it is happening. He never “sugar coats” or mitigates the destruction and havoc that sin has caused and still causes.

In addition, God warned us about “perilous times” in which we live today. He told us exactly what the attitudes and actions of man would be like in the closing days of human history. He warned all believers of what our treatment would be during these “perilous times” just prior to His return; first for His Church in the Rapture, and finally as the conquering King at the Second Coming (John 16:33; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; 1 John 3:13).

Finally, after bringing those who are hurting and/or angry face to face with the bad news, we give them the GOOD NEWS—the REASON for the hope that is in us! It is this: “For God SO LOVED the world that He gave His only begotten Son. That WHOSOEVER believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

The answer to “WHY” is because of SIN. Sin corrupts, sin kills, sin destroys, sin perverts, sin damns! But God is sovereign, holy, just, merciful—not willing that any should perish (eternally), because God IS LOVE!

Sometimes He steps in and supernaturally protects and delivers, and sometimes He allows the results of sin to run its course in order to: Draw the lost to Him so that they may be spared an eternity in hell, or grow the believer in grace, to mold us, fashion us, to be more like Him. ( He who suffered so much on our behalf, not just in His physical body, but in His holiness by bearing our sins and paying our sin debt.)

Remember the story of Mary, Martha and Lazarus? What looked like callousness on the part of Jesus was actually a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate to ALL—those who loved and followed Him and those who did not, that He (Jesus) really IS “the resurrection and the life!”

We are finite creatures. We cannot help but see things from our limited points of view, but God is infinite. He is beyond and outside of time and space, and His ways are far above our understanding.

Sin caused death, decay, and destruction. This cosmos, including our world and all that is in it, is hurtling toward the termination point.

Satan and all the hurt, death and destruction he has caused WILL be judged. Sin WILL be dealt the final blow, and death (the final enemy) WILL be swallowed up in victory for ALL who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.

This world is dying. This is why bad things are multiplying in scope and severity. God’s Word has told us what happened to His perfect creation; SIN polluted everything.

Sin occurred because of man’s rebellious heart. God told us in His Word what He did to redeem Adam’s fallen race. He sent His Son to pay the debt of sin that no man could ever pay. He told us what DID happen, what IS happening and what WILL happen in the near future.

Justice is coming. It may seem to be coming slowly, but that is because “God is not willing that ANY should perish, but that ALL should come to repentance.” Yet, in our anguish and our grief, let us not overlook the blessed peace of God’s infinite mercy and His boundless grace demonstrated so lovingly by this: “In that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the unjust.”

The grace of God, extended to all who will accept it, is the HOPE that sustains us! And for all, who of their own free will reject this gift of grace so freely offered, then there is a coming judgment that is certain.

Let us cry out loud from now until Jesus calls us home, the good news of the free pardon of grace that saves sinners and breaks the chains of sin forever. There is a new world coming! Proclaim this to the world. May God bless us and equip us to answer a sin sick world when it asks “WHY” by pointing them to the only One who IS the answer—Jesus Christ.