The Critical Question We Ought to Ask When Hurting

And why asking "why" never goes far enough.

When something or someone hurts your feelings, where do you run? The book of Psalms repeatedly asks God where He is in the midst of our pain. After all, we’d really love it if God would stop the hurting since He can.

The Question We Ought to Ask When Hurting

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Amazingly however, the book of Job never answers the questions: “Where is God in my pain?” nor “Why does God allow such struggle in our lives?” Even Job himself received no answers to these questions—only elsewhere in the Bible do we discover their solutions.

When we’re struggling or suffering, finding out “why” is never enough.

There’s another question we need to ask.

The Question We Ought to Ask When Hurting

Amidst Job’s confusion as to why he, a blameless man, should experience such suffering and hurting, God broadened Job’s horizon by giving him a science quiz (Job 38:4-5, 12). God asked Job questions about zoology, astronomy, and oceanography—none of which Job can answer.

And why asking why never goes far enough

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The Lord essentially tells Job: “If you grapple with understanding simple things like how to build a planet—if you struggle to comprehend the visible, physical realm—how can you possibly begin to understand answers to questions regarding the invisible, spiritual realm?”

Rather than asking: “Where is God in my pain?” the book of Job urges us to ask: “Where am I in my pain?” In other words, how will we respond to that which we cannot understand? That’s the question when we’re hurting.

Will we trust God?

The Limitations of Asking Why

I find it fascinating God never told Job why it all happened to him (knowing “why” gives little relief when we hurt). Job needed what we all need when we hurt: a deeper confidence in the good God who controls of every realm of existence.

Job concluded:

I know that You can do all things; no plan of Yours can be thwarted. —Job 42:2

In other words, even though Job stammered to understand God’s reasons, Job still trusted that God had them—and they were good.

The Freedom of Trusting God’s Purpose

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The Freedom of Trusting God’s Purpose

In times of pain, you and I also sit strapped to a limited perspective.

  • We absolutely cannot comprehend all that goes on behind the scenes in the spiritual and moral realm of God’s dealing with us.
  • We can understand, however, that a good God does understand it all and works it all for our good (Romans 8:28).

And its purpose? That we may “become conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29). Rather than asking: “Where is God in my pain?” We should ask and answer: “Where am I in my pain?” How will we respond to that which we cannot understand?

Let’s respond by trusting God.

Question: What question do you usually ask in your struggles? To leave a comment, just click here.

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I'd love to hear your thoughts. Just keep it kind and relevant. Thanks!

  • Ian

    Wayne, beautifully written.

    We want to know the ‘why’ so we can control the situation better even if just in our mind when, as you write, the Lord wants us to trust.

    I’m sorry to hear of your family member’s struggle with cancer. May the peace that only God can provide flood him/her at this time.

    • Thank you, Ian. Thank you very much. God bless.

  • Pingback: Why Your Life in Christ is Supposed to Hurt Right Now()

  • Jeanelle Sims

    This morning as I sit in my comfortable chair,in my comfortable home pain free, I wonder “where will I be in my pain”. I pray that God will continue to teach me how to trust Him even in the tough times. It is so easy to trust Him in the good times. But when the rubber meet the road and the pain hits that is then we truly learn to trust Him. As God said ” if Job can’t do the simple thing of building a Plant, how can you understand how to trust Me”. “SIMPLE THING” for God.
    My God is faithful to do what He says, Isaiah 55:11

    • Thanks for that reminder, Jeanelle. I appreciate you.

  • Julie Putzier

    Dear Wayne,
    Thank you so much for your godly wisdom and advice. In times of trouble I simply run to our LORD JESUS and call upon HIS NAME FOR HELP.

    Our precious LORD JESUS BLESS you.

    Julie

    • I do the same, Julie. All the time. God bless as you wait on him.

  • Bonnie Jo Faught Ferrer

    Thank you for this scripture based insight, it really got me thinking and that is a really good place to be. I realize that when I am in those struggles my question is more of an internal and maybe selfish question…I ask myself over and over, what did I do to cause this and I ask God to make me a better person. I feel that it is usually my fault. Intellectually I know that is sometimes a lie of the enemy causing guilt and low self worth, conversely I know it is sometimes Holy Spirit giving me insight. Either way I pray for God to fix what is wrong in me and give me forgiveness over others and myself. Great teaching today Wayne…it really put me in another frame of perspective. I will now pray also for a better understanding of where I am in my pain and how I can walk a better walk with the pain I have. God bless.

    • Thank you, Bonnie. We are all in process, for sure. It’s natural to wonder what part we play in the struggle. I often think of Jesus, who did nothing wrong, but he struggled. We’re in good company.

  • Michelle thick

    Thank you for the read. I’m reading Job right now. And last nite while driving home from my dentist appt. I was saying im going to start being like Job. Well thanks to you I will now ask how long Lord. So glad your there to help me get through.
    God Bless

    • Amen, Michelle. May God bless you while you wait on him.

  • KIM SLAIGHT

    Can I get a healing for smoking my

    • Somehow your message didn’t come through, Kim. Mind trying again?

  • Tibor Meszaros

    To your point, I believe we should know God’s Word a priori any pain comes into a specific life situation. Finding God and His purpose only then, when you hurt, is hard. Try keeping your balance on a boat during storm.

    Pain, hurt, wounds are all part of life. Like you said, knowing why doesn’t always alleviate the pain. God spoke to me during an intense trial and gave me perspective. It didn’t took away the hurting but it encouraged me to walk thru it.

    But then of course, one would debate, not every pain is the same. Certainly being in prison for murder, having a tooth-ache or stage IV cancer, being in financial distress, having marital problems, losing your limbs in war or your house to a hurricane are all different stages of hurt to different people of different faith walks. What I love about Wayne’s message(s) is that, yes, we all experience pain in so many different ways. But God is One. The same today, yesterday and forever. He never changes. He talks to us about pain, how to deal with it, what not to do etc right? His Word says:

    “Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.”

    But do we listen? More importantly, do we obey?

    Yes, at times it doesn’t feel fair to hurt, to suffer or even endure hardship. Especially realizing how helpless you and those around you are. I then remind myself that God is faithful. He knows how much I can bear pain. And if He deems it right to call me home, so be it. I’m just a sojourner in this life. To be with Him is to be pain free. God bless you all. Thank you for reading my post with grace.

    • Thanks for your significant thoughts, Tibor. I love what you asked: “But do we listen? More importantly, do we obey?”