We all know the favorite question of young children is “Why?” Why is the sky blue? Why is the grass green? Why do I have to eat this? Why do I have to go to bed?
The year 2020 has been a year of “WHY?” questions, often making us feel as helpless as young children. Why do we have to shut down? Why do we have to wear masks? Why are protests allowed when churches can’t meet? Why are they doing that? Why can’t things just be “normal”?
For me, personally, those questions have included Why did my sister die? Why couldn’t I be with her in the hospital? Why did they move so far away? Why wasn’t I a better sister?
If we gathered into books all the “Why?” questions from around the world from just this year, much less throughout history, the number of volumes could be endless, as the apostle John noted at the end of his gospel about the works of Christ: “I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25b NASB).
It is comforting to know that even Solomon in his wisdom, also asked why. Ecclesiastes 7 sounds as if it could have been written during a period like 2020. In verses 10 and 13-14, the author (traditionally believed to be Solomon) gives advice for us to heed today: “Say not, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’ For it is not from wisdom that you ask this. . . . Consider the work of God: who can make straight what He has made crooked? In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.”
This is not a fatalistic view, but it does warn that no man, not even Solomon, is wise enough to know God’s ways. Ecclesiastes 8 concludes, “When I applied my heart to know wisdom and to see the business that is done on earth, how neither day nor night do one’s eyes see sleep, then I saw all the work of God, that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. However much man may toil in seeking, he will not find it out. Even though a wise man claims to know, he cannot find it out.”…