Is It Sinful to Ask God Why?

We all face times when we don't understand what God is doing. Perhaps we lose a loved one, or we receive an unexpected and upsetting diagnosis. We struggle as we walk through painfully devastating circumstances. We don't see life making sense, and even more discouraging, we don't see God making sense. So, we look to heaven and ask Him, "Why?"

I often get asked if this question is sinful.

The first thing to know is that we are not alone in asking God why. The Bible is full of examples of people who posed this question. You don't have to read very far in books like the book of Psalms to find writers like David crying out to God, pointing out injustice, and asking Him why He is so slow to deal with the wicked or asking why He has abandoned His people in their time of need. The prophet Habakkuk cried out, "O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear?" (Habakkuk 1:2a).

All of this tells me that the question is not whether or not it is a sin to ask God why. God is big enough for our questions. What matters is our motive.

What are we seeking when we ask Him? Are we desiring God to reveal Himself and to show us His will? If so, we are following biblical directives. In James 1:5, we are told, " If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him." If we don't know what to do, if we are struggling and need wisdom, if we want to know how to discern God's will and direction in the midst of all that leaves us confused and discouraged, He invites us to ask Him.

It's very different, however, to ask God why because we are bitter or angry and do not trust Him.

Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:6-7, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Paul tells us that the opposite of anxiousness is going to God with your struggles, your doubts, and your fears with a spirit of faith. You can acknowledge that there's a lot you don't know and that you have nowhere else to turn as you surrender everything to Him.

When we approach Him with humble hearts of surrender and faith in the midst of our pain, we will get up off of our knees with a greater sense of assurance. We still might not see or understand what God is doing, but we will be reminded that our faith is not in God orchestrating circumstances according to our desires. Our faith is knowing that God is God. He always is, and He always will be.

We can take Him our questions of why. But we must remember that our security is not in God’s activity. It's in His identity.