Is questioning the Almighty acceptable? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
I was with a group of guys last night and heard someone say that you’re not supposed to question God when talking about personal suffering. This is something that we often hear from Christians. It’s as if it somehow shows a lack of faith. In reality, I think it’s quite false.
I spoke to this man later and talked with him, because I didn’t want him living with guilt when going through a hard time on top of any other struggles that he has. The Bible consistently has people questioning God. The Psalms are one such book. You do not have to go far into the book before you find people questioning God. These are not minor matters either. These are heartfelt cries asking if God is there and if He really cares or not.
And this is a great benefit for us. After all, do we view God as a Counselor as is said in Isaiah 9:5-6? What kind of counselor is it that you can’t be honest with. Are you really angry with God and having questions for Him? It’s not like you can hide it from Him. He knows it already. Let it out.
That’s actually very healthy anyway. Often, psychologists speak of this as a catharsis. We can have moments where we have so much emotion built up in us that we just have to let them out. If we store them up inside of us, they don’t do us much good. Why think you can let them loose on another human being, but not on God?
Habakkuk is another great book for this. Habakkuk is a different prophet. Many of the prophets went to the people on behalf of God. The book of Habakkuk is the prophet going to God on behalf of the people. Jeremiah is another one. You can find written in the book of Jeremiah the complaints of Jeremiah. Even in the book his secretary Baruch is of the opinion that what he is going through is pointless.
Of course, there’s Job. Job went through intense suffering. In discussing this, I asked the real purpose of Job. The purpose of Job is not to help you understand suffering and evil. If you go through it wanting to know why bad things happen to good people, you are going to be disappointed. When God shows up at the end, He says nothing about the suffering of Job.
What is it about then? It’s about the question of the accuser. Does God serve Job for nothing? If Job did not have all these blessings in his life, would he continue to serve? In the end, Job passes the test. Job is faithful to God and blessed. This despite Job questioning God and being angry with Him.
John the Baptist in the New Testament is another example. John as a baby leapt in the womb when Jesus came over and who saw Heaven open and a dove descend on Jesus at baptism and heard the voice of God speak at that moment. John also grew up certainly hearing stories about his cousin. This John the Baptist. What does he say?
He’s in prison and sends his disciples to ask Jesus if He is the Messiah or should we wait for another. Jesus gives an answer to show that He is. Then Jesus turns to the crowd and talks about how hard it is to find faith because here even is John the Baptist and yet John is without faith and….
He doesn’t say that?
He says what?
He says that of all men born to that time, none of them is greater than John the Baptist? You mean Jesus blesses and holds up as an example the guy who questioned Him? Jesus celebrates this man? Sure, he says the least in the Kingdom of Heaven will be greater than him, but he sure heaps some praise on John.
Now don’t get me wrong. How you question God could be wrong. Questioning itself is not necessarily. Faith can be something you wrestle with. When I go through some intense suffering, I do ask why. One often thinks that if they were God, they would do such and such. In reality, you wouldn’t, because if you were God, you’d have the perfect knowledge and wisdom that He has.
If anything, coming to God and being honest is a step of trust. It’s telling God that you don’t know what is going on, but you want to understand better, yet you are just thoroughly perplexed by what He is doing, or sometimes not doing. Questioning can be a way of saying you are willing to let God see all of you, which is kind of a no-brainer because He already does and you can’t hide anything from Him anyway.
Go ahead and question. God’s not obligated to give you an answer and honestly, we probably wouldn’t understand the answer, but you can know that He is there and He does hear and He does care. We in evangelical circles often sing the hymn “Just As I Am.”
Come to Him just as you are. He already knows. He heals up the wounds of the brokenhearted and He is there.