The ‘why’ ques­tions both­er­ing us

Manila Bulletin - - Views • Features - By NELLY FAVIS VILLAFUERTE (Com­ments may be sent to Ms. Villafuerte’s email: vil­la­fuerte_nelly@ya­hoo.com)

WE have many “why” ques­tions in life. At one time or an­other. Es­pe­cially dur­ing times of tri­als, suf­fer­ings, and crises. Many, if not all of us, are tempted a thou­sand times to ask: “My God, why…?” We should not be dis­turbed or both­ered if we are tempted to ask this ques­tion. From Bib­li­cal times, we see peo­ple ask­ing the same ques­tion.

*** Let me share with you some of the Bib­li­cal “whys.” They sound fa­mil­iar in this mod­ern age. In­deed, we are echo­ing the same groans, com­plaints, and grum­blings of the Bib­li­cal peo­ple.

• “Why is this hap­pen­ing to me?” (Gen­e­sis 25:22) Re­bekah, Isaac’s wife’s said this when she was preg­nant with twin boys and the ba­bies were jostling each other in her womb.

• “O, Lord, why have You brought trou­ble upon this peo­ple?” (Ex­o­dus 5:22) Moses said this when he was lead­ing the Is­raelites out of Egypt and the pharaoh was start­ing to make the Is­raelites’ life more mis­er­able.

• “Why did we ever leave Egypt?” (Num­bers 11:20) The grum­bling Is­raelites said this to Moses on their way to the Promised Land.

• “If the Lord is with us, why has all this hap­pened to us?” (Judges 6:13) Gideon said this to the Lord when the Mid­i­an­ites were op­press­ing the Is­raelites on their way to the Promised Land.

• “I went away full, but the Lord brought me back empty. Why…?” (Ruth 1:21) These were Naomi’s words when she went back to Beth­le­hem with Ruth, her daugh­ter-in­law, af­ter her hus­band and two sons died in Moab.

• “Why did I not per­ish at birth, and die as I came from the womb?” (Job 3:11) A cry from Job when his great suf­fer­ings started.

• “Why do the na­tions con­spire and the peo­ples plot in vain?” (Psalm 2:1) Words from King David. He said these words at a time when Is­rael was be­ing at­tacked by the neigh­bor­ing pa­gan na­tions.

• “Why, O Lord, do You stand far off? Why do you hide Your­self in times of trou­ble?” (Psalm 10:1) The psalmist was ask­ing God to come to his aid soon­est. Like many of us, we ask this fa­mil­iar ques­tion – dur­ing times of op­pres­sion and tri­als.

• “My God, my God, why have You for­saken me? Why are You so far from sav­ing me, so far from the words of my groan­ing?” (Psalm 22:1) An ur­gent ap­peal of David dur­ing some great trial.

• “Why, O Lord, do You make us wan­der from Your ways and harden our hearts so we do not re­vere You?” (Isa­iah 63:17) In be­half of the Is­raelites who were dis­obey­ing God, Isa­iah was ask­ing for mercy and com­pas­sion.

• “Why is my pain un­end­ing and my wound griev­ous and in­cur­able?” (Jeremiah 15:18) These words came from Jeremiah, one of God’s prophets, when he was hurt and afraid.

• “Why do you make me look at in­jus­tice? Why do you tol­er­ate wrong?” (Habakkuk 1:3) Habakkuk, one of God’s prophet who was sad­dened by the vi­o­lence and cor­rup­tion around him. He com­plained to God. ***

Ask­ing the ques­tion, “My God, my God, why…” is per­fectly nat­u­ral. We all ask this ques­tion at one time or an­other. While God does not al­ways an­swer our “why” ques­tions, He does un­der­stand why we ask them. When Je­sus was cru­ci­fied and was near death and cried out the “why” ques­tion to God. Je­sus did not also get an an­swer as He hung upon the cross.

*** We should not com­plain or grum­ble if God does not an­swer our “why” ques­tions. We can­not fit God into our mold and make God’s plans and pur­poses fit and con­form to ours. In­stead, we should try to fit into His plans. Why? The an­swer is found in Isa­iah 55:8-9 which says: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nei­ther are your ways my ways. As the heav­ens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

***

Ac­tu­ally, we need not ask the “why” ques­tion be­cause Cal­vary cov­ers it all. Our big­gest se­cu­rity blan­ket is that the time is com­ing soon when all the rid­dles and puz­zles in this life will fall into place and our un­waiver­ing faith in the Lord will be re­warded. As one Chris­tian said: “No longer will we cry My God, why?” In­stead, “alas” will be­come “Al­leluia.” All ques­tion marks will be straight­ened into ex­cla­ma­tion points, sor­row will change to singing, and pain will be lost in praise.

*** Let us hang on to our faith in a great and om­nipo­tent God who cre­ated us – even in the midst of tri­als, suf­fer­ings, and crises. The fol­low­ing words of a brother Chris­tian is worth re­mem­ber­ing to give us in­ner strength dur­ing the storms in our life: “When be­lief in God be­comes dif­fi­cult, the ten­dency is to turn away from Him. But, in Heaven’s name, to what?”

*** This col­umn con­tin­ues to give out copies of the Holy Bible for free to those who can­not af­ford to buy their own copies. If in­ter­ested, please send your let­ter-re­quest to Ms. Nelly Favis Villafuerte, 5233 LRV Build­ing, Fahren­heit St., Palanan, Makati City. Kindly men­tion if it is the Ta­ga­log, English, Ce­buano, or Ilo­cano Bible that is pre­ferred.

When be­lief in God be­comes dif­fi­cult, the ten­dency is to turn away from Him. But, in Heaven’s name, to what?

Be joy­ful and for­giv­ing!

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