In Psalm 44 the psalmist asks God a question that most of us have asked at one time or another — why?
To paraphrase, he is telling God to wake up, come down and help us for we are in a lot of trouble. He acknowledges believing all the fathers have told him about the works of God in the past.
The why question is about God’s seeming rejection of them now. God no longer went out with the armies of Israel for battle. Rather than victory they experienced defeat. God took them out of their land and scattered them among the nations. They had become a laughing stock and were shamed before their enemies. What really bothered him was he could see no reason for this action on God’s part (Psalm 44:17-18, 20, 21).
The psalmist closes with an emphatic plea: “Rise up; help us!” (Palm 44:26, NLT). He states the desperation of their situation in verse 22: “But for your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”
This sounds pretty desperate. How do we answer someone in a similar situation? When the person looks us in the eye with an anguished face and asks, “Why did God allow this?” It is times like these that demand more than simplistic answers.
The statement in verse 22 is found again in Romans 8:36. It is in this chapter of the Bible God provides a deep and solid answer to any “why.” His answer is grounded in the theology of the Holy Spirit, the resurrection, redemption and the sovereignty and love of God.
The Holy Spirit: Romans 8:1-9
It is the Holy Spirit that sets us free from the law of sin and death. In Christ’s death on the cross, our sin debt has been paid. We no longer stand before God in condemnation for our sin regardless of what trials we are walking through in this life. Our fleshly mind cannot submit to or please God. However, at salvation God’s Holy Spirit indwells us and quickens our dead spirit. Now we become alive to God and are able to obey Him as we walk “in the spirit.” We overcome our daily battles by walking in the power and mind of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
The resurrection: Romans 8:10-17
It is because of the reality of the resurrection that a believer never loses hope. All of life’s trials and problems will eventually come to an end at death. The greatest issue for each of us is when death comes, what then? Is there anything after death? The Apostle Paul’s answer is yes this was proven by Jesus and His resurrection. In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul explains the entire process of the resurrection. It is the cornerstone of the Christian faith — no resurrection, no Christianity.
In Romans 8 Paul explains to us the same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in every believer and will one day raise each of us from the dead. So no matter how desperate life gets we maintain hope because of the reality of the resurrection. One day every Christian will be given a new perfect body in which to enjoy eternity with God and others.
The sovereignty of God and redemption: Romans 8:18-30
Paul tells us because of God’s redemptive plan he looks at life through a different lens. He sees this life for what it is — temporary. Real life is eternal and the sufferings of this life are nothing compared to the glory that awaits us.
Therefore we patiently endure any present troubles until the redemption of all creation. This lens enables us to maintain perspective and hope.
Before the creation of anything God knew sin would enter his creation through the free will of man and angels. The curse is the consequences of human disobedience to God the source of all our problems. In His foreknowledge God anticipated this event and had predetermined a solution for it. His redemptive plan is the solution to remove the curse and restore all creation, including us, to its original perfection.
Until this plan is complete, we still live under the curse and its consequences. However, for those who love and follow God’s call for their life, he promises us access to him for comfort and direction. This is accomplished by the Spirit interceding for us according to the will of God. He also promises to exert his sovereign control over all events in our life both good and bad. This results in God turning even the bad to accomplish good in our life.
The love of God: Romans 8:31-39
This chapter closes with a reminder that God’s love for us is everlasting. Since God has already given us His Son to die for us, why would God withhold anything else we need in our journey home? Paul exhorts us to not worry about what anyone else thinks or says about us. Christ, who knows the truth, constantly intercedes for us before the Father.
Should you start to go to that dark and anxious place in your mind that questions why?
Why have you rejected me God? Why have you forgotten me? Why do you no longer love me? Why do you allow this in my life? Paul emphasizes that there is nothing in all the creation that can separate us from God’s love. When nothing makes sense and the “why” isn’t answered, hang on to this truth — God loves me.
Dr. John Hawkins, Sr. runs Gateway Counseling Center in Boynton Beach along with his son John Jr. He can be reached by visiting gatewaycounseling.com.