When we read the news these days, sometimes the question that comes to mind for the people featured in certain articles is, “What were you thinking?” Typically, we know the answer: they weren’t! (I could fill this page with examples where I was in the same boat, but there are better things to talk about, today.)
Do you ever wonder why God chooses to do something (or not do something else)? Do we ever want to ask (respectfully), “God, what were you thinking?” Unlike the sarcastic question we reserve for people acting stupidly, we know – intellectually – that God is omniscient (all-knowing) as well as being perfectly wise and holy. As a result, we can’t chalk up His decisions to not thinking, even if we don’t understand.
We still ask, though – whether out of frustration, sorrow, or just curiosity. And, I think that this is a legitimate question. What we should not feel, though, is alone in asking this question. Take a look at these examples from the Bible:
After God relented from punishing the city of Nineveh, Jonah asks a rhetorical question…almost an “I told you so”.
But it greatly displeased Jonah and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord and said, “Please LORD, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity.
Jonah 4:1-2 NASB
Elsewhere, in order to be absolutely sure that a message that he had received from God, Gideon asked God twice for a sign (see Judges 6:36-40). Before that, though, he had some questions about why his people were in their current situation.
Then Gideon said to him, “O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”
Judges 6:13 NASB
Even Moses, after encountering God in a burning bush (see Exodus 3:1-12), questioned whether God had chosen the right person (although this seems like a bit of just trying to get out of God’s calling).
But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?”
Exodus 3:11 NASB
The prophet Elijah seemed to have questions (see 1 Kings 19). Even the righteous Job had a lot of questions throughout the book that carries his name. Note that these people didn’t question whether or not God existed. They were already confident in God’s existence; rather, they were just asking Him questions.
So, if you have questions for God today, go ahead and ask Him. Be ready to listen – whether He chooses to answer through the Bible, circumstances, other Christians, or His audible voice. In His wisdom, He may choose not to answer right away. (When I ask a question, I’m not always ready for the answer. In that situation, I’m usually not in a good position to know whether or not that is the case, until I learn a little more and become more mature.) You may or may not receive an answer that matches what you think is best, but if God chooses to let you see some of His wisdom, you will at least find the truth.