About a month ago, as I was letting two students off at a bus stop, I saw down the road away a young teenage boy step into the path of an oncoming car. No doubt, the boy was in a hurry and had intended to run across to the other side of the four lane road. He reached the second lane and froze in fear as a light blue car, with a slight swerving motion, slammed into his left side. The force of the impact threw him, like a rag doll, twenty or more feet into the air before he struck the damp cold pavement, landing on his right side.
Later, while I talked to the police officer at the scene of the accident, I could see the driver of the car was troubled. While sitting in the police cruiser, he looked as though the accident was recurring again in his mind. Once, he even buried his face in his hands. Worried and concerned, he thanked me for providing information about his unfortunate circumstances, while in the background he could hear the cries of the injured boy.
Almost two years ago and a hundred yards south on the same road, another boy was struck by an automobile. Today, that boy is paralyzed from the neck down and information about his recovery has appeared in the Grand Rapids Press a couple of times.
The driver of the car might be tempted to ask the questions, “Why me?” “Why did this have to happen to me?” Maybe he would also say, “If only I was just a few minutes earlier or later, then this would not have happened to me!” Then too, if we were the driver, we might see the horrible scene over and over again in our mind. The responsibility in having caused a young person to suffer a severe injury would weigh heavily on our mind and heart. We would feel remorse. We would wish that it would all be over and done with.
When the boy starts to recover from his injuries, he will probably ask similar questions. “Why did this happen to me?” “Why me?!” “If only I had jumped out of the way, then I wouldn’t be here in the hospital with all these sick people!”
Now this action of asking questions is something we tend to do automatically when we are young people. We have matured into young people physically, mentally, and spiritually. We now have the mental capacity to ask more thought provoking questions about life. We ask our parents and friends many questions about life because God has put the desire in our hearts to know the truth about life. We aren’t just curious about life, such as any unbeliever might be, but we want to know the truth as only a child of God can hear it and believe it. As young people, we ask questions so that we gain the knowledge of the truth we desire with all our heart to know and believe.
However, there is a pertinent aspect of asking questions that we ought to consider. Asking questions is alright, but the questions we ask must come from a heart and mind that has carefully considered the possible questions to ask and then asks only those questions that are out of a desire to know the truth. This aspect of asking questions is important to our whole life, for if we ask foolish questions out of curiosity, then we stand on dangerous ground, but if we ask questions that are out of a desire to know the truth about life, then we stand on a ground firmly rooted in the love of God.
You can understand that the questions asked at the beginning of this article were questions asked from a sinful heart. They were foolish because they doubted God’s purpose in our life. For it was God’s will that the accident happened to those two people. To ask, “Why me?’’ is really asking, “By what right did God do this to me?’’ That is blasphemy because the question seeks to mock God’s will for my life, as if I had the right to question the actions of God as regards my life. The statements that begin with, “If only I. . .” are also foolish because God willed everything to happen the way it happened and that can never be changed. The apostle Paul answers this kind of foolish questioning in Romans 9:19-21 where we read, “Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, 0 man, who are thou that repliest against God? Should the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour; and another unto dishonour?” The principle in these verses is the same for questions such as “Why me?” Who art thou to reply against God and to question His will for your life?
This does not mean that we can’t ask any questions, for we can, but they must be the right questions asked out of a desire to bring glory to the name of God. We do this when we sing Psalter number 116, stanza 3, “Why restless, why cast down my soul? Trust God, who will employ His aid for thee, and change these sighs to thankful hymns of joy,” or Psalter 114, stanza 10, “O why art thou cast down, my soul, and why so troubled shouldest thou be? Hope thou in God, and Him extol, Who gives His saving help to me.”
The apostle Paul asked the question of Jesus Christ, “What wilt thou have me to do Lord?” The Ethiopian eunuch asked Philip, “See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?” Judas, not Iscariot, asked Jesus, “Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?” All of these questions were asked out of a sincerity to know the truth, in order that the people who asked them might obey God.
Those are only a few of the examples that are provided for us to show us how to ask proper questions and the motive for asking questions about life. Then let us follow the examples of those who have gone before us for that is the will of God for our life.