The "Whys" of Life
by Kelly Givens
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4
Towards the end of work some weeks ago, our office was informed that a few cars in our parking deck had been broken into. The vandalism and robberies had been contained to Level 2—the level I had parked my car. Thankfully, my car had been left untouched. The SUV directly across from me, however, hadn’t fared so well- the shattered glass on the ground evidenced the vandals’ quick and effective work. As I began my drive home I prayed God would give the owners of the busted up cars a measure of his peace, mercy and patience.
Nearing my exit, I noticed cars slowing down, and around the bend in the road I saw why. A cop was getting out of his car; he had been called for a minor fender bender and traffic was slowing to accommodate. I inched past, glancing at the guy in truck that had been hit. He had his head in his hand and was looking up at the sky in exasperation. You could tell he was thinking, “I can’t believe this happened. Why me?! What did I do to deserve this?!” I thought back to the owners of the cars in the parking deck, knowing they would be asking those same questions when they discovered their vehicles had been broken into.
The “whys” of life point us to a story larger than our own. When we ask why bad things happen, we’re acknowledging that the way life is right now is not how it ought to be. Why is that significant? It’s significant because, in a world which wants us to believe we were created at random and have lived on through survival of the fittest or just good luck, our souls actually cry out against randomness and unjust advantage. We crave order, justice, and mercy, and we feel angry and sad when a seemingly arbitrary, awful thing in life happens. There’s a disconnect between what we believe should happen and what really does happen. I find it interesting that my friends who believe in a random, chance creation still feel indignant when apparently random, chance events work against their lives. Their heads may believe one thing, but their hearts believe something else. As Christians, our heads and hearts are more aligned.
At the beginning of Creation, we’re told “God saw all he had made, and it was very good” (Gen. 1:31). You were created to live in a perfect world, where the question of why bad things happen was never supposed to exist. But then man sinned and the world was corrupted (Gen. 3: 6-7). Adam and Eve immediately recognized sin for what it was, and in their guilt hid from God (Gen. 3:10). In the same way, we recognize evil as evil because it goes against the very nature of our intended existence. We cry out against suffering because we were never meant to suffer. We get overwhelming distraught over death because no one was ever supposed to die. As believers, we can take encouragement from this gut reaction to pain and suffering. It reminds us we were created for a world absent of these things, and we can look forward to the day when Jesus comes back and takes away our tears and frustrations. We will never utter “Why me?” again. Everything good that can be, will be. Everything evil will be undone. That is such good news; it fills me with joy and hope to think on it.
Intersecting Faith and Life: Are you experiencing seemingly random suffering and sorrow in your life? Cling to the comforting truth of your faith - all suffering is temporary, it is not random, and Jesus is coming soon to restore this world and everything in it - including you - to perfection.