Today I’m pondering questions. I have many. When I woke up one Sunday morning to an unimaginable reality, my fractured brain could only think in questions. Why, Lord? Why would you do this? How could you let this happen? What are you doing? Where do we go from here?
Grief is greedy. It fills us with a curiosity. We ask questions. We seek to understand. This relentless pursuit of explanations is a common thread that exists in sufferers. The Bible shares this thread as well. Consider Job. Most of the book of Job consists of him and his friends trying to make sense of his suffering.
I’m wondering why our need for answers consumes us when we suffer. Do we think that if we could know the reasons for our suffering that we will suffer less? Even if I were to understand why Gracious had to die, that knowledge would not have the power to make her death any less painful for me.
Over the past two months I’ve been asking God a lot of questions trying to understand why this happened. He has not been answering my questions, but he has been transforming my curiosity. He’s teaching me that there is a better question that I’ve left unasked. I don’t need to know why, I need to know who. Who are you, Lord?
Who is this God who would lead me down a path and then abruptly destroy the path? Who is this God who allows me to suffer for my obedience? Who is this God who crushes and rebuilds me? Who is this God who promises future glory and prepares me for it through affliction (Corinthians 4:17)?
This isn’t the God I thought I knew. This isn’t the God I had experience with. This God is so much more. I don’t understand him. He’s unpredictable. He’s bigger, wilder, untamable. And I’m realizing that I barely know him.
It’s interesting that the book of Job concludes with him never having his questions answered. God didn’t answer Job’s questions of why, he answered the question Job never asked. He told Job who he was. Job said, “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you” (Job 42:5). Job was saying, I used to know you this way, but now, I know you in this deeper way, I know you more.
This is what I want more than answers, more than anything. I want to know him more. I thought I knew him before, but now, I’m getting to know him in new ways.
Initially, I couldn’t understand that this was what my grieving heart really needed to know. I thought I was searching for answers, but I was really searching for him. It’s not about what we understand, it’s about who we understand.
Scripture teaches that we shouldn’t boast in what we know but in who we know. God says, “let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me” (Jeremiah 9:23-24).
Seeking answers is too little. I am seeking the giver of the answers. I don’t need to know why he does things, I need to know who he is.
I want to know him more. I want to know him even when it hurts. I want to know him when it doesn’t make sense. I want to know him when it’s risky. I just want to know him. My suffering is an invitation to know him more.
There is nothing wrong with asking God why. He welcomes our questions. But are we asking the most important one? Who? Who are you, father?
God eclipses my demand for answers with the revelation of himself. He is enough. He is more. He is better than answers. He is my gain. I am learning to “count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8). What grace!
As I ponder questions, I’m thankful for them. My questions led me to God. What began as a pursuit to know the answers has become, by his grace, a pursuit to know him more.