Is It Ok to Ask, “Why, God?” in Times of Suffering?

Audio Version: Is It Ok to Ask, “Why, God?” in Times of Suffering?

by Melinda Yeoh

Many of us Christians are not comfortable with our feelings and emotions. As a result, we often bury our pain instead of dealing with them healthily. 

Numerous Biblical examples have shown, however, that the prophets and disciples, and even Christ Himself, were not afraid to come before God just as they were. They frequently laid their burdens, emotions, and sufferings transparently before God. Side by side with this, scripture has also shown that God responds to His people’s pain. 

As Melinda, the writer of this article, expresses, the “Why, God?!” questions are a vital part of our relationship with our Heavenly Father.    

When it comes to adversity and suffering, I often hear teaching from sermons, and people advising, “Don’t ask ‘Why, God?’. Ask ‘What are You saying, God?’ or ‘What do you want me to do, God?’”

“Why, God?” is the wrong question, some said.

The church, with the best of intentions, wants to point us to the hope of God. Of course, that’s a good thing to do.

But the message needs to be put into its right context. And at the right time.

To the person who is suffering, the person who had just lost someone or something dear to them, would they be led to think, they shouldn’t be asking that “wrong” question? And maybe… in a confused state, would they then shove their feelings in, button up those wrong questions, and try to see it from “God’s perspective”?

For the longest time, I was one of them. With the best of intentions, I was always trying to do the “right” thing.

I muted all the “Why, God?” questions that came over my grief. Over my pain. And I moved on prematurely. Only, I wasn’t moving on. I was muted.

Do you feel guilty asking – demanding… “Why, God? Why?!”

I found myself asking that question one day. I was woken up in the middle of the night, my heart in pain; aching with a family whose family member collapsed suddenly, her life in limbo. And at 3 am, I asked, “Why, Lord??”

And I felt no guilt from asking.

In the context of pain and grief, “Why, God?!” is a cry. It’s not simply a question & answer session with God.

“Why, God?!” – is our hearts crying out in pain.

“Why, God?!” — is having our brain and heart crumpled from the loss of someone.

“Why, God?!” — is our cry for solidarity with those who are suffering.

It doesn’t necessarily mean we are asking for an answer.

Because even if we know the answer, the answer is not what we seek. Nor is it what we want.

What we want is comfort. Comfort that surpasses understanding.

Maybe what we want is to have the person back! Not dead. Not now. Not yet. Not ever.

So, to me, in our time of suffering, it’s ok to ask, “Why, God, why, God?”

It gives voice to our pain. That’s healthy. That’s human.

To not press the mute button and prematurely move on to “What are You saying, God?”.

To acknowledge our emotions. Because emotions just are. They are the language of our hearts.

Only when we learn to be human, we can then be humane in our response to another person’s story.

And if it is us who are suffering from the loss of something or someone dear, give ourselves the space to feel the pain, to grieve. As is.

Until you are ready to move into asking, “What, God, what are You saying in all these?” and “How might You want to use my pain for a purpose?”, be real. And ask, “Why, God?”

“Why, God?” is being crushed in the soul. It’s trusting God and falling into His big arms; for Him to hold you as you sob, wail, question, fall apart.

Then, only then, real prayer starts. As you present yourself as you are. Confident in your relationship with God who loves you. Trusting in Him through the storm.

About the Writer

Melinda is a self-taught writer who only realised her intense love for writing — after two decades of writing. She’s now happily writing full-time, dividing her time between her blog and newsletter of poems, stories and reflections on life (https://melindayeoh.com) and writing for other blogs. Currently, she has a growing love for writing poems and having fresh flowers on her worktable.

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