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Questioning God



The Book of Habakkuk begins with a question. "How long, Lord?" asks the Prophet Habakkuk. He questioned how long he and his people must suffer from injustice, strife, and violence. Not only does Habakkuk inquire about the waiting period, but he also questions why God had not saved him or his people despite his consistent prayer.


How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.

(Habakkuk 1:2-4 NIV)


Doesn't Habakkuk's tone sound accusatory? Is this acceptable? Was it okay for Habakkuk to question God? Are we permitted to question God today?


Well, as the chapter unfolds, we see that God did not scold Habakkuk for his inquiries. Instead, God gave him a straightforward answer. Habakkuk 1:5 states, “Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days

that you would not believe, even if you were told."


God answers Habakkuk without rebuking or chastising him for his questions. Habakkuk is not the only person who questioned God. In Psalm 13, David also questions God. Psalms 13:1-2 reads, "How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?"


Furthermore, when Job suffered great loss, he also questioned God. He wondered why God chose to send such great calamity his way. We know per scripture that Job's hardships occurred because Satan challenged Job's devotion to God. There was a heavenly conversation held about Job that Job knew nothing about. Yet, when Job questioned God, God did not tell Job about that conversation. God didn't explain to Job why he had to suffer. Instead, God said the following:


Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said: “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. “Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand.

(Job 38:1-4 NIV)


From Job 38-41, God continues to ask Job a series of questions that makes Job, and ultimately us, understand that we have no place to ask God why or how he operates the way that he does. After God questions Job, Job admitted that he "spoke of things he did not understand, things too wonderful for him to know (Job 42:3). Job then repented for questioning God and his plan.


We are not to question God's authority, sovereignty, or power. Ecclesiastes 5:2 reminds us to "be not rash with our mouths and let not our hearts be hasty to utter anything before God. For God is in heaven, and we are upon earth". And yet, if we are confused about something, we should ask for clarification. If we don't understand something, we should get an understanding as Proverbs 4:7 states.


Before we even open our mouths to question God, He is well aware that the question is on our hearts. And since we are to trust God with our hearts, I do believe it is acceptable to ask God questions when we desire an answer. Yet, reverence is always expected of us.


My inquisitive four-year-old daughter questions me quite often. And usually, I do not mind her questions. If she asks me why her dad is not home, I have no problem explaining that it's because he is working. If she asks me why she cannot go outside, I have no problem explaining that it's because of unfavorable weather conditions. But if she starts to question my parenting and states that she disagrees with how I parent, well then, we have ourselves a problem.


She is not in the position to question my authority as her mother no more than we are to question God's authority as our Father. I think it's also worth noting that sometimes, my answer to her question is "because I said so". If we are going to ask God a question, we need to understand that He will answer us how He wishes and when He wishes.


I see no distinct differences from Habakkuk's questioning, David's questioning, or Job's questioning. They all simply wondered why they were faced with hardships. From what I gather, scripture does not indicate why God answered Job one way but answered Habakkuk another way. However, I do know that God is infinite in wisdom and whatever he chooses to do is perfect. Therefore, although his response to both Job and Habakkuk were different, they were also perfect.


Knowing this, I'd say that putting questions before God while giving him the utmost respect is permissible so long as we do not question his authority. Giving God our problems and questions is the type of intimacy that a Christian should have. Nonetheless, we must understand that his ways are higher than ours, so his answer may not be what we expect. But whatever the answer is it will be perfectly tailored for our particular situation.


That's all I have for you all. Have a blessed day and week! If it is the Lord's will, I'll see you next week.


 

Quin Arrington is a wife, mother of two children, and author of three books. Her literary collection includes both fictional and nonfictional works. Books can be purchased at the link listed below. Thank you for time and attention. God bless!


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