Don't Ask Why, Ask What?

“He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”

Micah 6:8

Can you recall a time growing up and your parents saying to you, “Don’t ask why” to some question you posed simply because they knew if they explained the “why” to you, that you still wouldn’t understand? In counseling others I have come to know that many people have felt that way about God. They tell me that they prayed and asked God “why” various things have happened to them throughout their life that they don’t understand and are wanting an answer for only to feel as if God was saying to them, “Don’t ask why”. Often times our “why” questions addressed to God are met with silence only to allow us time to consider the “what” that He is wanting to teach us.

Are you aware that everything God does in our lives and in this world has a predetermined purpose most often only known to Him? That’s why we are called to live by faith and trust in the Lord. Because God is omniscient He knows the past, the present and the future simultaneously so his judgments are perfect. We on the other hand are prone to make mistakes because the decisions we often make in life are done so with unlimited emotion but very limited knowledge, based usually on some event that has occurred in our past, or is happening to us right now in the present, or is something that we are seeking to control or trying to avoid some where down the road in the not so distant future. God knows us better than we know ourselves and is why He understands that we ask questions that no answer would satisfy. That is why He offers us peace that no question can frustrate.

Let me encourage you today to try this the next time you have a “why” question for God. Ask God “what” instead. Instead of praying, “God why is this happening to me?” Ask God, “What is it Father that you are wanting to do in me?” Change your “why” to a “what” when you pray and your prayers will cease from asking God “why me” while seeking God to change your circumstances. When we begin to ask God “what” is it that you are wanting to do in me, we begin to pray and ask God to use our circumstances to change us. I readily admit I don’t know the reason “why” God does most of the things He does in this world as His ways are high above my ways, and that’s perfectly fine with me. Like one of my favorite pastors often says, “A god so small that we can understand him is not big enough to merit our worship.” We on the other hand serve a big God!

Like you, though I might not know the why as to what God is doing in the world today as wars and rumors of wars increase and all of creation is groaning with birth pangs around the world. I do understand the what He is doing when it comes to you and me. God is working all things for His glory, “and we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). We can be at peace today and enjoy the peace of God knowing He has not appointed us to wrath but to salvation. God is in control no matter why, no matter what! God loves you!

“Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”

Matthew 18:14


Michael Osthimer





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