Is it Time to Ask the Question Why?
Clifford Denton

A growing number of Christians are becoming dissatisfied with the Church today. Desire is welling up to be more deeply rooted in the first century heritage of the covenant community. Is God stirring this discontent and, if so, why?

Asking questions is central to our spiritual growth. By considering the times we are in, through our study of the Bible and in prayer, we are right to ask searching questions. We may not obtain full answers to these questions and, even after several years, may gain only partial insight into issues beyond the realms of human experience. Yet asking questions is an important part of our walk with God.

We are living in an era that raises many questions. Sometimes little words open up big questions. What, how, when, why are among these little words with implications for our life of faith. What is happening in this world and what is God doing? How, biblically, can we understand these events? When will the Times of the Gentiles be fulfilled, when will all Israel be saved, and when will the Lord return? But even though we should ask some of these questions has God set limits to what we might ask Him?

Why is one of these little words. The question why is asked time and again through the Bible. It is not unusual for Godís people to ask this question in times of perplexity and in times of difficulty. Why did you bring us out of Egypt, asked the children of Israel when there was no sign of food in the desert. Why do the nations rage and plot a vain thing asked the Psalmist when the purposes of God were so clear to him. Why are You allowing our enemies to rise up against us, asked the Prophets when times were difficult for Israel and Judah. The question why is asked when we think that an answer will help us face the future. Why Lord are you stirring us today, we might ask God? Why are troubles all around us? Yet, is it a question that we should always ask? Adam and Eve were told to simply trust and obey, and it was only when satan led them to ask questions that they fell into sin. Satan tempted them into enquiring about the reasons why God had told them not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil - and this brought trouble on us all. Sometimes, asking why may be as much an enemy of faith today as it was at the Fall, so we must be careful. Some questions build our faith but others must be avoided, if motivated by a desire that will ultimately make us independent of God, knowing what is not for us to know.

The first question to ask is what? What is God saying to us? What is He asking of us? In the midst of world affairs of growing intensity, a stirring has arisen among His people. Among Christians there is a move of discontent with the existing order. Many Christians have a desire to be restored to our biblical heritage and relationship with Israel. In Israel there is a return to the Land, growing tensions in the Middle East, and a renewed Messianic expectation welling up. Among the nations signs are increasing daily that Yeshua is preparing to return. These are among the things that God is doing, and the Bible has much to say about what is happening in the world today. Why is a relevant question in the midst of all these events, but what are the bounds of the question why? We, like all men and women of faith who went before us, must learn to live through perplexing times simply trusting God. Indeed, we do not have the ability, within the limits of our earthly experience, to understand some of the bigger eternal issues. Why will war, famine and disease precede the return of Yeshua? Why will the antichrist be allowed to rise and persecute the family of God? We may not have the capacity to understand answers to these questions other than at a very basic level.

Yet, there may be some good in asking the question why at the level we can understand. We may not understand the bigger issues, but we might understand the general reason why God is stirring us to dig into the substance of our faith, putting our roots deeper down. There are a number of possible reasons why God is stirring up a restoration of His people. Is it so that we will be better informed as to our biblical heritage? Is it so that relationships with Israel may be properly established? Yes, is surely the answer to both of these questions. Yet, even with much good fruit of this kind coming from a new awakening among Christians, I am wondering if there is a more fundamental reason for why we are being stirred at this time. God is often slower to act than we would want, especially in times of difficulty. When difficult times come upon the world God may be judging the nations, but He is also testing and refining His people. At such times we may ask why and simply hear the answer trust Me, no more. Indeed, many of us may be going through our personal valley experiences, or may do so in the future, and not understand why, except that it is an opportunity to demonstrate faith in God.

If we consider the signs of the times and relate them to biblical prophecy many views may be formed of what lies ahead. Some Christians expect that soon there will be a ďraptureĒ out of this world. Some others think that it will be a longer period of time before 1 Thessalonians 4:17 is fulfilled, and some Christians even think that they will take dominion over the world prior to the Lordís return. I am among those who expect the antichrist system to rise up, for pressure to arise in the world even in a time of enforced peace, and for Christians to be here through times of great tribulation (Daniel 12:1, Luke 21:25-28). I believe that in some way the covenant people of God will be taken to a place of safety when He pours His wrath. This is at a time after the establishment of the antichrist system but before the great woes described in Revelation 16. I also expect great spiritual harvests from all nations in the midst of the worldís troubles, prior to the time when a great awakening will occur in Israel. I expect days of rejection and separation from the world system, prior to the Lordís return. I have, in the past, wondered if this will be all outworked very soon, but now I am wondering if this is going to be a longer drawn out period than we would humanly hope. All this relates to the question what to expect in the coming days, which inevitably leads to the question why. Even if much must be left in the realms of faith, can we gain a general understanding of what God is doing and His priorities through the present era?

Surely, more than anything else, God is calling us to reconsider the roots and foundations of our faith in a deeper way so that we will be strengthened for the days ahead. This, to me, is the answer to the reason why more and more of us are becoming discontent with the present order of the Christian Church. If the times of deception are yet to reach their height then we must be strong enough to withstand this. If the antichrist system will eventually lead true believers to come out of her (Revelation 18:4) , we need to be ready for the time when we must stand alone, both spiritually and physically. Many of the older generation of Christians have thought that they would not die, but live to see the Lordís return. If the Lordís return is somewhat later than we hoped, we must be prepared for the next generation to live through the last of the last days rather than ourselves. Will they be ready? Thus, in considering the question why we are being stirred at the moment, the answer must be that we must prepare for the days ahead; we, and the next generation - perhaps even the generation after that. If this is so, God wants us to realize that many of the principles and practices of the Christian Church are not sufficient for the circumstances coming upon this world. As a response to the reason why God is causing a discontent with much of the modern-day Church experience, the answer is that we are to become the stronger community of faith that will stand firm in the days of testing. The next question is how - and that is still a matter for prayer. All the good fruit that will be borne by communities of believers in the days ahead will follow as a consequence of a strengthened Church, in which the key word for today is prepare.