Not many generations of people have asked as frequently as ours, “Why, God?”
Thus far in 2020 more than a million people have died globally with the Corona virus. I suspect the most consistently asked question is, “Why?” You probably have asked it; I have. You may remember that Jesus asked our question, too, as He hung on the cross. So it’s not a question asked only by the faithless or the doubting, but often by those honestly seeking to understand the mind of God.
I was recently moved as I re-read what must be one of the most amazing narratives in all the Scripture record. (You can refresh your memory by reading II Kings 4.) Here’s my paraphrase: The prophet Elisha is on his way to campmeeting when he meets a wealthy couple in the city of Shunem, a little city of about 3,000. The couple invites him to stay for dinner and he does. They are so honored they decide to build a bedroom in their upstairs loft so any time he comes through town he has his own private motel.
Elisha is so grateful he, noticing they have no children, promises them that within a year she will hold a son in her arms. Sure enough, right on time a year later, she is nursing a healthy baby boy.
A few years go by – maybe seven or so – the boy follows his dad out to the harvest field. Late morning he apparently suffers a heat stroke, and although one of the hired hands rushes him back to the house, about noon he dies in his mother’s arms. Mom takes the lad up to the loft and lays him on Elisha’s bed.
She knows where to go for help so she saddles up her horse and heads for Mt. Carmel where, she rightly assumes, Elisha is staying. He sees her in the distance and sends his helper to ask, “Is everything all right with you, with your husband, with your child?” Her answer is awesome! She sprints past the servant and goes directly to Elisha to respond: “Yes, everything is all right.”
Hello! “Everything’s all right?” Her precious young son, the child of promise, the joy of her life…died in her arms just hours before and lies dead back home yet she answers, “Everything’s all right”? Where does an answer like that come from? From Trust. She is confronted by a tragedy and she doesn’t have to know why. Never once in the narrative do we hear her ask God to explain.
The boy will be returned to her but she doesn’t know that yet. But still as she gallops toward Mt. Carmel that early evening there is a smile mixed with her tears because she can affirm, “Everything’s all right.” So can we. Because we can trust Him, too.
By Don Jacobsen