This is from Elisabeth’s book On Asking God Why:
I seek the lessons God wants to teach me, and that means that I ask why. There are those who insist that it is a very bad thing to question God. To them, “Why?” is a rude question. That depends, I believe, on whether it is an honest search, in faith, for his meaning, or whether it is a challenge of unbelief and rebellion. The psalmist often questioned God and so did Job. God did not answer the questions, but he answered the man–with the mystery of himself.
He has not left us entirely in the dark. We know a great deal more about his purposes than poor old Job did, yet Job trusted him. He is not only the Almighty–Job’s favorite name for him. He is also our Father, and what a father does is not by any means always understood by the child. If he loves the child, however, the child trusts him. It is the child’s ultimate good that the father has in mind. Terribly elementary. Yet I have to be reminded of this when, for example, my friend suffers, when a book I think I can’t possibly do without is lost, when a manuscript is worthless.
Elsewhere (I am not sure of the source) she writes:
Now is it a sin to ask God why? It’s always best to go first for our answers to Jesus Himself. He cried out on the cross, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’ It was a human cry; a cry of desperation springing from His heart’s agony at the prospect of being put into the hands of wicked men and actually becoming sin for you and me. We can never suffer anything like that, yet we do at times feel forsaken, don’t we? It’s quite natural for us to cry, ‘Why, Lord?’
The psalmist asked why. Job, a blameless man suffering horrible torments on an ash heap, asked why. It doesn’t seem to me to be sinful to ask the question. What is sinful is resentment against God and His dealings with us. When we begin to doubt His love and imagine that He is cheating us of something we have a right to, we are guilty as Adam and Eve were guilty. They took the snake at his word rather than God.
The same snake comes to us repeatedly with the same suggestions. ‘Does God love you? Does He really want the best for you? Is His Word trustworthy? Isn’t He cheating you? Forget His promises. You’d be better off if you’d do it your way.’
I’ve often asked why. Many things have happened which I didn’t plan and which human rationality could not explain. In the darkness of my perplexity and sorrow, I have heard God say quietly, ‘Trust Me.’ He knew that my question was not the challenge of unbelief or of resentment.
I don’t understand Him, but then I’m not asked to understand, only to trust. Bitterness dissolves when I remember the kind of love with which He has loved me–He gave Himself for me. He gave Himself for me. He gave Himself for me. Whatever He is doing now, therefore, is not cause for bitterness. It has to be designed for good, because He loved me and gave Himself for me.
I agree. It’s not a sin to ask, at least not unless the attitude is one of defiance or resentment. He may not answer, or may answer in a way we hadn’t at first wanted, but the more we learn to know Him, the more we can trust Him with those questions, no matter the answer or lack thereof.
See all the posts in this series here.