[“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8,9]
Life’s problems do not always have easy answers. Often there is no immediate and satisfactory solution to a mysterious circumstance. We rationalize that there must be a cause for a given effect, but we cannot find it. There seems to be no reason for the tragedy, no justice in the treatment accorded us by otherwise good people, or in God’s dealing with us for that matter. Life just does not always add up!
Why do we have disappointment, disease, distress, difficulty, delay, and death itself? Why do we experience loneliness, loss of loved ones, the lowering of clouds, the unsatisfied longing that eats like acid into our spirit? Why should we suffer bruises, bewilderment, and blinding tears?
These questions are not readily answered, nor should they be lightly considered. There is always the danger of easy generalization or of smug oversimplification. Often we are like the disciples who inquired, “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?” [John 9:2]. As though blindness had only one possible cause! Life is too complicated and its problems too complex to be comprehended by casual observation.
Therefore we often ask the question, Why? The question sometimes denotes an inquiry for information rather than the despair of darkness, the inquisitiveness of uninformed youth rather than the disillusionment of declining days. Sometimes we are puzzled by strange and unforeseen situations, and sometimes by silence in which any news would be good.
The Bible has much to say about why. The query is often made:
by David when his soul was cast down, and
by Ruth when she was overwhelmed by the graciousness of Boaz;
by Jeremiah whose pain was perpetual, and
by Mary whose Son had remained in Jerusalem to talk with the doctors of the law;
by the Lord Jesus when He saw the fault-finding that overlooked one’s own flaws, and
the fearful [disciples] who felt that He cared not if they perished in the storm. It was asked
by the Almighty of Cain at the dawn of human history, “Why art thou wroth?” and again of all mankind all down the ages, “Why will ye die?”
Why? usually indicates uncertainty and unbelief, but not necessarily so. Even the Lord Jesus in the darkness of Golgotha cried out, “Why hast thou forsaken me?” [Matthew 27:46]. We know that He never sinned in thought or deed; and His awful question, “Why?” was caused by darkness rather than despair or defeat.
The Compassionate One bids us bring our confusion and questions to Him, and not to ignore them. Doubt and disillusionment serve no good purpose, while honest inquiry enlightens the painful and perplexed spirit. “Unto the upright the light riseth in the darkness!” [Psalm 112:4].
The Bible not only asks the question, Why? but also answers it. [In this book] are traced both query and reply so that we may be taught as well as tested, that we learn to walk by faith and not by sight, and to trust even where we cannot trace.
In the time of questioning say:
First: He brought me here; it is by His will I am in this strait place; in that I will rest.
Next: He will keep me here in His love, and give me grace in this trial to behave as His child.
Then: He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me the lessons He intends me to learn, and working in me the grace He means to bestow.
Last: In His good time He can bring me out again how and when He knows.
I am here …
1. By God’s appointment.
2. In His keeping.
3. Under His training.
4. For His time.
V. Raymond Edman, Why (Wheaton IL: Scripture Press, 1956), pp.1-3
 Biblical allusions: Psalm 42:5; Ruth 2:10; Jer. 12:1; Luke 2:48; Matt. 7:3; Mark 4:38; Gen. 4:6; Ezek. 18:31
 Andrew Murray
Bracketed content added – JBW
Common Sense for America, by Don Hunt, summons us to evaluate our country’s troubles in the light of a Christian worldview and common sense: