He had been coughing non-stop for five days. We had been to the doctor twice.It was confirmed that Andrew had a bad chest infection and he had been put on antibiotics. But the worse was the continuous coughing which left him exhausted and dispirited. We had prayed for him but the coughing continued. He asked an honest question.
Why didn’t Jesus heal him straight away.
Growing up in a Christian home, and a veteran of Sunday School, Andrew knew all about the living God, a God both powerful and loving. His question was legitimate. Why didn’t God heal him immediately?
Some would say, don’t ask why. Ask what. What can I learn from the pains in my life. I guess there is some truth here. Sometimes we are not party to the whys of God. And there are always lessons to be learnt even in the tragedies of life.
But “why” is a legitimate question. The person who asks “why” in the face of unanswered prayer is saying at least three things.
- I believe God exists.
- I believe God is a loving God.
- I believe God has the power to accomplish His purposes.
That is why I am confused at His silence in the midst of my pain.
Indeed, the question “why” is found on the lips of God the Son Himself. On the cross, Jesus cried out: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27: 46) In doing so, Jesus is quoting Psalm 22.
The Scriptures give us permission to cry out “why”.
Perhaps Jesus” “why” gives some perspective to our “whys”. The cross gives us both cause and cure.
God did not cause the pains of the world. That came as a result of our sin. But God acted to rectify the problem. He came as man to bear both sin and its consequence in His own body. Jesus’ resurrection was proof that the powerful and loving God had indeed acted to save mankind.
But this was His script–the Cross, the Tomb, and then the Resurrection. We too have to follow that script.
Which means there will be times when in pain and confusion we will cry out “why”.
Andrew’s cough is healed by now. He went back to school yesterday. But as I write, I have a number of close friends whose loved ones are in the final stages of cancer.
Why, O Lord?
The answers may not be forthcoming. But I know that the victory has been won.
I had no answer for Andrew’s query. I just hugged him and told him daddy loved him.
Sometimes that is all we can do as we wait for the dawn together.