Sometimes people mistakenly think that if we ask “Why” there is something wrong with our faith. We should just accept things and move on.
But that’s not the way the Psalter puts things. There is a lot of asking why in the book of Psalms.
We’ll start with one that our Lord himself used while hanging on the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” That’s where Jesus ends his words but he psalmist adds another why, “Why are you so far from helping me?”
We happen to know the answer to this “Why”. Jesus was forsaken by God because he was carrying all our sins on the cross and God cannot tolerate sin so he forsook Jesus. And because Jesus was forsaken we know that we will never be forsaken.
One of the most common occasions for asking why in the Psalms is “God, why do you let the wicked get away with it?” Or “Why do the wicked act the way they do?”
Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”? Psalm 10:13
Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man? Psalm 49:5
Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand? Take it from the fold of your garment and destroy them! Psalm 74:11
Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Psalm 2:1-4
This exact passage, where the psalmist is talking to himself, appears three times in the Psalter:
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation. Psalm 42:5, Psalm 42:11 & Psalm 43:5
It’s like he’s giving himself a pep talk. My soul may be cast down now but eventually things will get better and I will be back to praising God. This is good advice. When we get down we should not panic. Things will get better as we continue to hope in God.
So asking “Why” is not necessarily a sign of weak faith. According to the Psalms, it’s okay to ask why as long as we are prepared to accept whatever God’s answer is since he always knows what’s best.