Monthly Archives: July 2016

Never Ask Why. Why Not?

Why did Challenger Explode

When the Challenger exploded, President Ronald Reagan appointed a special commission to determine “why” the spacecraft had exploded. In spite of a debris field scattered over approximately 426 square miles, and an ocean depth of 100 feet, the search effort did not end until the answer was found. After seven months of the most intensive US Navy search in history,  the “why” was determined to be failure of O-rings on the solid rocket booster and failure to heed warnings to delay the launch due to cold weather.

When we face trials, the first “why” is usually evident, the cause clear. Often it’s our own stupidity, someone’s careless actions, or a natural disaster. My ribs hurt because I fell from a ladder I shouldn’t have been climbing. My son is paralyzed because an intoxicated driver struck his car broadside.  My house burned because of a wild fire.

The second “why” is usually hidden. “Why did God allow this to happen to me?” Often only a matter of seconds separate us from safety and disaster. Why didn’t the Holy Spirit nudge me to take a different route, choose a higher lot on which to build my house, delay me a few seconds at a stop light?  Why?

Some people say that we should never ask  God “why” when we pass through great testing, but I don’t believe our “whys” offend God. “Whys” appear throughout the book of Job and the Psalms.  On the cross, Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”

We, as Job, search our minds and hearts for the why of our suffering, but we, as Job, will probably never know “why” God let this test slip through filtering hands and touch us. As far as we know, Job never knew “why” he was tested. The surface “whys” were obvious: raiders, fire, and a storm had taken all that he possessed. But Job wrestled with the deeper “why.” Why is God allowing this to happen to me? Job never saw the cosmic game board and the Satanic moves that sacrificed the pieces of his life until all that remained was a queen in attack mode.

We may search for God’s “why” and cry out,  “If you loved me why did you allow this to happen to me?” but the only answer we will find is the answer Job found:

God is sovereign. God is just. God is good.

It requires faith —trust in God — to quit asking and searching for the “why” and rest in the loving, faithful arms of God.

Martha Hawn VanCise© 2016

Never Ask Why. Why Not? is the 2nd Signpost in the series “God’s Teaching and Testing Methods.”

Does God Teach to the Test?

God tests us

Years ago, my answer would have been, “Yes.”  At birth, my parents had dedicated me to God. During the first 27 years of my life, Sunday School classes, Sunday morning and evening services, revivals, mid-week prayer services and Bible college  provided “answers” for whatever tests life would hand me.  If I hadn’t been “Taught to the Test,” I sure didn’t know what else I could learn. Even if God gave me the test in Greek, I was confident I could make a passing grade.

Much to my dismay, I soon found God had not yet taught me how to pass some post-graduate tests.

Within two years of college graduation, I faced trashed ministry plans. A four-year missionary assignment to Bolivia ended after four-months. If God knew what test I was going to face, why hadn’t the subject of “How to Avoid Failure When Following God,” been on a syllabus?

Does God teach to the test?
No! God tests to teach us.

God’s method of teaching often involves handing us a test for which we have absolutely no preparation. If we had been prepared, we would have all the answers and breeze through the test. When we know that we can’t possibly pass the test on our own, we must turn to God for help. The test will teach us more about God’s love and faithfulness than we could ever learn in a class.

The Apostle Paul was tested by discouragement, shipwreck and prison, but in all these tests he said, “The Lord stood at my side and gave me strength.” No matter how unprepared we feel for a test, God has promised, “Never, will I leave you; never, will I forsake you.”  (Acts 18:9-10; 23:11; 27:22-24; Hebrews 13:5)

Does God Teach to the Test?  is the first of several SIGNPOSTS I will be posting relating to God’s teaching and testing methods.

Martha Hawn VanCise©2016
Graphic: ClipArt Ron Leishman