Such questions come to our mind as we struggle with the realities of living in our present world. They are real questions, they are substantial questions. But sometimes when we ask such questions, “the pious among us question and attack us. You are on the road to hell brother,” One might say. Or another may say. “Just trust the Lord and it will all be all right.”
These attempts to quiet our questions seem to be unhelpful. But even more are those who seem to know for certain that the question is wrong. They tell us exactly why things are not fair. They tell us, “Favor ain’t fair.” or they tell us, “God is fair, you just need to look deeper.” They may argue, “God is giving us heaven so why are you worrying about life down here.”
Then there is the one, “We’ll understand it better by and by.”
I guess, I want to encourage the preachers to struggle with these questions. If the Biblical cannon can have in it the example of Habakkuk who had the audacity to ask, “Why don’t you help us? Why don’t you come to our rescue?” Then certainly there is a moment when our humanity will overtake us and we have to come to terms with this.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying you will have all the answers. I am not saying you will have any answers, but recognize that your people are asking the question. And recognize that even if you don’t have an answer. Even if you have to resort to “We’ll understand it better by and by. Please at least recognize and honor the question.
You honor the question by being with those who are facing life situations that wrench from their lips the question.
You honor the question by not giving a pat and simply answer to a question that is profound and complex.
You honor the question by leaving room for God to answer it.
You honor the question by not belittling those who ask the question.
Often when we ask this question we are not looking for a theodicy honed in the seminary, we are looking for encouragement that divinity is still guiding our lives. So in our preaching, as we continue to lift up the most high, let’s still honor the hard questions of life…