Active Faith

Why, Why, Why

Tammy Darling explains how healthy why questions can take us down a path to healing and restoration. by Tammy Darling

“Why did Grandpa have to die?” “Why does the grass have to be green?” “Why can’t I have five cookies?” “Why do spiders come in the house?” “Why am I so short?” “Why is the dog chasing its tail?”

Why? Why? Why? Why this and why that. Children have a fountain of never-ending why questions. According to Jesus, it seems we have a thing or two to learn from these little ones. After all, the Bible does tell us to become like little children.

“And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.’”

Matthew 18:3, NIV

Children are naturally curious. As adults, we tend to lose that curiosity and stop asking questions, stop challenging ourselves. Through questions and answers, children learn cause and effect. As children ask why, they learn, grow, and mature; we can do the same.

Because Jesus instructs us to become like little children, I believe it’s okay to ask why—we just need to be sure we’re asking the right kind of “why” questions. For example, questions such as, “Why did my son have to die?” “Why did my wife have an affair?” and “Why did I have to get cancer?” tend to be accusatory in nature and usually have answers that won’t help in the healing and growing process.

I was guilty of this many years ago and in the process, I was basically conveying that God somehow didn’t know what He was doing, which is far from the truth. But in my grief, I never saw that; I just wanted answers, answers that I now realize wouldn’t have helped in any way.

After my first miscarriage, I cried out to God, “Why did You let this happen? Why didn’t you prevent it?” My questions were asked in anger, and I never did receive any answers. But after repenting and allowing God to comfort me, I did find peace and realized I didn’t really need to know why it happened or why God didn’t prevent it.

Healthy why questions, however, often lead to other questions that take us farther down the path to healing and restoration. For instance, the question of “Why do I take offense so easily?” may lead me to further inquire: “What lie am I believing that causes me to be offended so easily?” “Am I feeling insecure?” “What inner wound is being scratched open and needs to be healed?”

As we ask why questions that will help us reflect and process, we turn those questions into seeds of growth and healing. Questions such as, “Why do I get so angry when good things happen to bad people?” “Why am I feeling sad right now?” and “Why do I do the things I really don’t want to do?” can lead to answers that are life changing.

We may avoid asking why questions because we already know the answer…and don’t want to deal with it. But failing to pursue those why questions can stunt our spiritual growth.

If you’re not already convinced asking a good why question is not only okay but also is beneficial, here are some additional reasons in favor of asking why:

Asking “why” helps clarify your thoughts

Someone once said that behind every question is a statement and behind every statement is a feeling. Why questions do have a way of getting to the heart of the matter! When someone asks, “Why does God let bad things happen to good people?” what they may really be saying is, “God isn’t safe,” which leads to feelings of fear and distrust. Getting to the root initiates healing and fosters spiritual growth.

Asking “why” keeps your brain healthy and active

Without regularly asking why questions, your mind loses focus and slowly deteriorates. A lack of self-awareness is not healthy; however, an active brain improves your overall well-being.

Asking “why” teaches you about yourself

When we ask ourselves why we do what we do, why we feel a certain way, or why we react in a particular manner, we learn more about ourselves. By asking why, I’ve learned of things that I needed to repent of and change, as well as to appreciate the quirkiness and uniqueness of who I am.

Asking “why” prevents living on auto pilot

It’s easy to just soar through our days without giving any real thought to the direction we are going…and if it’s even the direction we truly want to be going at all. Asking why questions is the precursor to moving us in a necessary new direction; it’s a healthy way to course correct.

Asking “why” will prevent us from jumping to conclusions

Asking someone, “Why do you say that?” will eliminate presumption. So often we presume to know why without ever asking, which often leads to misunderstandings and arguments. But by asking a question, we can avoid jumping to conclusions and seek to better understand the person instead.

Asking “why” fosters necessary life changes

A recent unexplained health issue caused me to start asking myself a series of why questions. During my pondering questions, answers to the proper course of action to take emerged and I began making the necessary life changes that were needed for relief. Had I not begun asking why, I may still be suffering.

Asking “why” causes you to think about your core values and beliefs

Have you ever asked yourself, “Why do I believe what I believe?” to evaluate your belief system? It’s an eye-opening question, one many of us have never stopped to consider. It’s a question that causes us to go deeper. And it’s important because of 1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV): “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” It’s the heart that matters, and those healthy why questions reach the very depths of our heart, if we’re willing to go there.

Asking “why” will shape what you do next

We don’t usually receive answers to our unhealthy why questions, but I fully believe our pursuit of beneficial why questions do lead to answers. And those answers will determine what we do next. When I asked myself recently why I get offended so easily, I realized that I was harboring a deep childhood wound that believed I wasn’t good enough. That answer made clear my next step. Once I had the answer, I knew what to do next instead of riding the same old hamster wheel and going nowhere.

Asking “why” can lead to better life choices

Asking healthy why questions lead to wisdom and revelation. With answers in hand, we are now informed, and as they say, knowledge is power. We are now equipped to make better life choices. Those better life choices not only bless us but also bless those around us.

Just maybe all these why questions are the key to our spiritual formation. Why? Because life happens. And frankly, sometimes life is downright frustrating, confusing, overwhelming, and even painful—all of which causes us to wonder why. Asking unhealthy why questions will lead us nowhere, but asking healthy, productive why questions will help us process, understand, heal, and grow.

So, go ahead, become like a little child and start asking why, why, why.

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