2010-09-23 / Church News

Questioning God doesn’t always show ‘lack of faith’

Craig Nash

My heart grieves for the people in the community of the Brownsboro Independent School District every time I hear that another young person has passed away.

The tragedies of the past few years have likely caused numerous people to ask obvious questions: Where is God? What was God thinking? Why would God allow something like this to happen?

These are all healthy questions. Unfortunately, many Christians try to silence these voices. In doing so, they short-circuit any hope for a healthy grieving process.

They say we should never question God and that it is not our place to know what God is thinking. They do this nicely and with the best intentions, but essentially, what they are saying is that we are doing something wrong when we ask these questions.

But if you look at the Bible, and especially the Psalms and wisdom literature (Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes) of the Old Testament, you will see that questioning God is an essential part of the human experience of grief.

From the earliest of times, humanity has looked at death and asked how a good God can allow such a thing to exist. It is not evil to ask these questions; it is a part of being human.

Questioning God doesn’t always show a lack of faith. Sometimes, it shows the presence of dynamic faith.

When someone dies and we say we should not question what God is thinking, or provide even more sentimental statements like,“God must have needed the person in Heaven,” we are assuming God had something to do with the person’s death.

Although I do believe God is active in the world, I do not believe God causes death. I also don’t believe that Satan causes death.

Death entered the world when sin entered the world. It is a part of our fallen condition.

But where is God in the midst of death? I don’t know all the answers to this, and I shouldn’t pretend to know. The greatest Christian thinkers have been wrestling with this question for centuries, and the best of them come up with this one answer: We don’t know.

Yet we still believe in God. We remember that when Jesus saw his friends grieving over the death of Lazarus, he didn’t immediately try to resolve the situation.

He didn’t try to make his friends feel better and He didn’t try to explain death away. The first thing he did was chronicled in the shortest verse of our English language Bibles, John 11:35: Jesus wept.

Some people say the reagotquestions. son Jesus wept was because of the lack of faith of his people.

I don’t buy this attempt to make Jesus less human than he was. Jesus wept because his friend Lazarus had died.

Yes, he did raise Lazarus from the dead, as he will raise all of His people from the dead when the time has come.

But before he did that, he wept because he experienced grief.

Why does God allow bad things to happen? I don’t know. But I know that in the midst of our grief, God is grieving with us.

God knows the pain of our loss, because He has experienced the pain of our loss.

Our grief does not frighten God or make God upset at us.

The resurrection of Jesus has defeated death and in the end, we will all experience that resurrection.

But in the meantime, we still live under the shadow of death. So if you have experienced tragedy, grieve, and grieve well.

God may seem silent right now, but God is with you.

Nash is community pastor at University Church and a student at Baylor’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary.

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