Have You Ever Asked God, “Why?”
A while back a reader asked me, “Have you ever asked God why? Did He answer?” Most of us have asked “Why?”
There are so many why’s to ask God:
Why are you letting this awful thing happen to my family?
Why aren’t you listening to my prayers?
Why did you let us get married in the first place?
Why couldn’t he love me?
Why wasn’t he faithful to his wedding vows?
Why dn’t you stop bad things from happening in the world?
So my short answer is, yes, I’ve asked God “why?” many times. Sometimes it seems as though He has answered and sometimes it feels like lonely silence.
A Lot of “How” Before the “Why”
When I first learned my marriage was in trouble, I was too stunned to ask God “why?” At that point, I was just scrambling to keep my life from unraveling. It was a blurry year and a half before we actually separated and eventually divorced. During that time the gut-wrenching betrayal of abandonment and emotional devastation consumed me while I struggled to accept and adjust to a new reality. My depression and anxiety kicked it up a notch and medication only took the worst edge off. My questions were more of “How could my husband stop loving me?” “How could he want a divorce?” and “How will I survive being alone the rest of my life?”
I had been married for most of my adult life, over half my total life at that point. We had three children, boys ages 17 and 13 and our little girl was 7 years old at the time of our separation. We had been married twenty-one years and I never imagined that my husband would want a divorce. He was my always-unchanging rock, slow to make a decision but not likely to change it once made. It really was an unbelievable shock, such a feeling of loss and grief.
The actual divorce wasn’t the end of the grieving and questioning, it just transitioned to a different type of grief and new questions. Some of those questions were practical matters, “How am I going to manage a family of four on just my income?” and “Who’s going to take care of the lawn?” Sometimes it was, “Lord, where are you in this?” I often felt the Lord’s love and grace at unexpected moments. He was with me and I was so busy holding on to Him for dear life that I didn’t think to ask Him why.
Clinging to God
I firmly believed – and still believe – that all things pass through the hands of a Good God, even when we can’t see the goodness. I clung to that belief as my marriage tore apart. I clung to God. I had to, there’s no way I could have survived without the gift of faith to carry me through, or the hours spent in the adoration chapel sobbing as I knelt before the Lord.
For now, I leave some words from Psalm 62 that I hope will offer comfort as they have consoled me over the years.
My soul, be at rest in God alone,
from whom comes my hope.
God alone is my rock and my salvation,
my secure height; I shall not fall.
My safety and glory are with God,
my strong rock and refuge.
Trust God at all times, my people!
Pour out your hearts to God our refuge!
Articles about the Catholic understanding of suffering:
Saint John Paul II encyclical “On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering.”
Peter Kreeft writes “God’s Answer to Suffering” Nice detailed explanation…”The answer is not just a word but the Word; not an idea but a person.”
Did you ask God why? How did He answer you? Please leave a comment or contact me below. I’d love to hear from you…
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