I love the song by John Michael Talbot called “Why”. The lyrics begin:
Why did it have to be a friend
Who chose to betray the Lord
Why did he use a kiss to show them
That’s not what a kiss is for
Only a friend can betray a friend
A stranger has nothing to gain
And only a friend comes close enough
To ever cause so much pain
And why did there have to be thorny
Crown pressed upon His head
It should have been the royal one
Made of jewels and gold instead
It had to be a crown of thorns
Because in this life that we live
For all who seek to love
A thorn is all the world has to give
And why did it have to be
A heavy cross He was made to bare
And why did they nail His feet and hands
His love would have held Him there
It was a cross for on a cross
A thief was supposed to pay
And Jesus had come into the world
To steal every heart away
Yes, Jesus had come into the world
To steal every heart away
In this life, the never-ending question when we are suffering is “Why”? Even Job submitted the same question to God in his suffering.
If I have sinned, what have I done to you, you who sees everything we do? Why have you made me your target? Have I become a burden to you? —Job 7:20
We lose our sense of reasoning in our suffering. We turn to God and can shake our fists at him in anger for what he permitted. We resort to self-pity and complaining eventually allowing seeds of bitterness and resentment to become a stronghold.
Why do the righteous suffer? You made a decision to follow Jesus and give him everything. When he comes to collect his wages for the cost of our lives we find it so hard to give freely what he is asking us to sacrifice or take.
You see, truly following Jesus will cost you everything.
He said, “It is necessary that the Son of Man suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and be raised the third day.” —Luke 9:22
So it was necessary for Jesus to suffer many things — rejection, death, and resurrection — just for our salvation. He has told us no servant is greater than their master. So if Jesus had to go through various sufferings and even death, and we are his servants, why are we puzzled by our sufferings?
And He goes on to say in Luke 9:23-24
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.
Count the cost. What is your cross that God has permitted in order that you may lose your life to save it? Losing your life means, to lose yourself — that you may die completely to “self”, that Christ may live in you.
Why, Lord, would you allow me to pray for a child, then allow a miscarriage or a stillborn?
Why, Lord, would allow my only child to be taken from me?
Why, Lord, would you allow me to be betrayed by someone I loved and trusted?
Why, Lord, would you allow me to stay in a difficult, loveless, and troubled marriage?
Why, Lord, would you allow my church congregation to spread rumors about me?
Why, Lord, would you allow my loved one to be taken by covid or cancer when I prayed and believed for healing?
Why, Lord, would you allow such a delay in my marriage when that is the heart’s desire?
Why, Lord, would you allow my body to be riddled with sickness and ailments that are that cause chronic pain?
Why, Lord, would you allow infidelity in my marriage and tell me to stay and stick it out?
Why, Lord, would you allow my family to be broken apart. When I served you faithfully, prayed and believed yet still my spouse left me, why?
Why, Lord, would you allow me to lose my job when I am the sole provider in your home?
Why, Lord, would you allow me to be overlooked and another chosen instead when I worked so hard?
Why, Lord, do you allow me to be oppressed by Satan and tested over and over again?
Why, Lord, do you allow me to experience dark nights where I feel abandoned with no direction yet you I am trying to seek you?
Why does it seem, God, you are not answering prayers…why, why, why, why? And we can go on and on. Why? The answer is found in the cross.
Although He was Son, He had to learn obedience from what he suffered. —Hebrews 5:8
If Jesus had to suffer to learn obedience, how much more us, who are so bent towards rebellion?
Suffering teaches us obedience to the Father’s will and obedience to His ways. Jesus, every day, has to see one of his precious children die by abortion or sacrifice. Jesus was betrayed by one of his disciples whom he loved. Jesus continues to love us, his brides who are so easily drawn away by other lovers. Yet he never leaves us — but stays and waits patiently until we return our hearts back to him. Jesus had continuous accusations hurled against him — and still does to this day.
Jesus lost his foster-father, Joseph, at a young age. He knows what it feels like to lose a loved one. Jesus so desperately desires His brides to be where he is — but has delayed time and time again because we are not ready. So he knows the pain of waiting a long time for a promise. Jesus took our infirmity and sickness on the cross and He continues to stay in countless marriages with brides who are unfaithful. Yet he is never unfaithful to them.
Jesus left the comfortability of being with his family and with his Mother to do the Father’s will until He died. Jesus understands the pain of being apart from his family. Jesus was overlooked time and time again by the religious leaders and by the crowd when they chose Barabbas instead of Him. Jesus was tested and harassed by the devil for forty days, and during his entire Passion. Jesus also felt the veil of abandonment on the cross. He understands and that is why we must suffer — that we all may follow our Master, becoming a servant of obedience and transformed to look just like Him. That is Why.