A while back I read an article by pediatrician and best-selling author, Dr. Alan Greene, entitled, “Why Children Ask Why.”
If you are the parent of a toddler, you’ve endured the seemingly never ending barrage of questions: Why is the sky blue? Why do I have to go to bed? Why are boys and girls different? Why do people wear underwear? Why can’t I lick the dog’s face?
As Dr. Greene points out, “sometimes their insistent questions seem like the drip, drip, drip of ancient water torture.” Little children desperately want to know why.
And so do we.
This last week our tiny Texas town was rocked as five children – ages 5 to 16 – died in a house fire. Only mom, dad and their four year old brother managed to escape the inferno.
As I stood on the street corner with the distraught family that morning – as I walked among the tear-filled community at the candlelight vigil that night – one word echoed over and over again: Why?
Why did those sweet children have to die? Why would a God of love do such a thing? Why? Why? Why?
As a parent, my children are often disappointed when I try to answer their why questions. I don’t always answer them as fully or clearly as they would like. In the end I frequently find myself telling them, “Because I said so.”
They don’t like that answer very much.
Oftentimes, we get frustrated when we hear God’s answer to our why questions. Why did I lose my job? Why did my mom get cancer? Why did those children have to die?
To our why God answers: “It’s for your good” (Romans 8:28) or “I have a plan” (Jeremiah 29:11) or simply “Because I said so” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
God doesn’t tell us exactly why he does what he does. He simply tells us to trust him. But that’s hard to do.
So, if you are struggling with the events of this last week, if you find yourself asking why, if you are not happy with God’s answer, it may help to look at the answer to another why question.
As Jesus hung on the cross suffering excruciating physical pain and the fists of God’s fury for all the sins of all people of all time, he cried out in agony, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) God the Father had abandoned God the Son.
God the Father forsook his Son because he loved you and me so much. God died so you and I could live with him forever in heaven. That is God’s plan and purpose for our lives – to get us through this sinful world of suffering to our perfect home of happiness in heaven.
Is that not what God did this last Tuesday for those five children? Why he did it at this time and in that way, I cannot tell you. Right now, I really don’t know what good will come out of this for their family and friends. This side of heaven, we may never fully understand why.
Yet you can be sure that good will come of it. You can be sure that all those who believe in Jesus will be reunited one day to live forever in the happiness of heaven. That is God’s answer. That is God’s plan. That is why he does what he does.