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The Why Conundrum

Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? Psalm 10:1


The why question often comes up when people face difficult circumstances in life. When my mom was diagnosed with liver cancer, I prayed for God to heal her. But when she died from it, I couldn’t understand why. When I see so many innocent people die from mass shootings throughout the country, I wonder why. I also ask why so many people are so wealthy while others are so poor they teether on the edge of desperation and hopelessness.


In today’s text, the Psalmist is struggling with the “why” conundrum. He does not understand why God seems so far away from him. In frustration, he asks why God is hiding from him in times of trouble.


Many people can identify with the questions raised by the psalmist. I certainly have asked these questions on many occasions. When our circumstances seem dire with no one able to help, we pray and wait for the Lord. However, when our prayers are not answered or the answer is delayed, we often feel God is hiding from us and wonder why.


I often wonder why the Devil is allowed to wreak so much havoc in the world. Why did Covid kill so many people and disrupt so many aspects of Church operations since the explosion of the pandemic? Yet, I am reminded that God is never far off. For, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18).”


God is not hiding from us in times of trouble. He invites all who are weary and burdened to come to Him so He can give them rest (Matthew 11:28). Our omnipresent God is faithful to deliver us from all our troubles and is always available to hear our cries. But that does not mean we will not grow through hardships or face difficulties. We live in a sinful world and are subjected to vicissitudes of life. Our faith in God gives us the courage to endure and persevere through trials, but it does not necessarily immune us from adversities.


God understands that at times we may not sense His presence. He knows that in our humanity, we may think He is hiding from us in times of trouble. That’s why prayer is such a vital spiritual tool in our spiritual arsenal. Through prayer, we can draw near to God so He can draw near to us (James 4:8).


Indeed, when I am struggling to sense the presence of God, I look to the hills from where my help comes through prayer. I’ve discovered prayer makes God’s presence more compelling, His love more empowering, His grace more soothing, and His protection more convincing. Prayer allows me to approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that I may receive mercy and find grace to help me in my time of need (Hebrews 4:16).


Some people have asked, why bad things happen to good people. This question presumes that bad things should only happen to bad people without defining the criteria for who is good or bad. However, as we read in Psalm 14:1, and 53:1, “there is no one who does good.” This is why when the ruler called Jesus “good teacher,” the Lord said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone (Luke 18:19).” Therefore, it is unwise to ask why bad things happen to good people.

News of wars, mass shootings, racism, injustice, and inequality in the world makes me wonder why God delays His just wrath against sinful humanity. I wonder why the second coming of Jesus is delayed while darkness and wickedness are overpowering the world. Why is God still giving chances after chances to accept His amazing gift of salvation through Jesus Christ to those who refuse to acknowledge that salvation exists in no else, for there is no other name under heaven given to humanity by which we must be saved, but Jesus (Acts 4:12).


Why do we ask “why” in difficult times, but we do not ask why we are allowed to prosper? Seldom does a person wonder why God bless them with good health, a good job, a good marriage, or a great career. Some people assume their good fortune is a combination of luck, personal accomplishments, and divine blessings. Even when they feel undeserving of their good fortunes, they do not wish those blessings away. Yet they do not hesitate to wonder Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble, Lord?


Questions for Personal Reflection

When do you feel God is standing far off from you?

What are the “Why” questions that challenge your faith in God?


Prayer- Blessed Lord, I thank you for being patient with me when I don’t understand why you allow me to go through adversities. Please give me the faith and the hope to look to you and wait on you even when I don’t understand why I go through hardships.

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