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So Many Why’s


As the steel bar slowly slides from one fret to another across the neck of a steel guitar it produces that sad sounding cry that many country music fans love.  The cry of the steel guitar struck a chord in my heart as I listened to George Jones’ song entitled “He Stopped  Loving Her Today”. My dad, who played the steel guitar used to tell me that its sound sent shivers up his spine.  A musician would understand my dad’s sentiments.    


The steel guitar in George Jones’ song reminded me of my father who died of cancer in June 2001 after looking after my mother who had a major stroke in 1994.  I was really hoping, and sometimes praying that my mom would leave for Heaven before my dad, so he could have a few remaining years of life without the stress of looking after mom.  That didn’t happen.  My mom died about 18 months after my dad.  She spent those 18 months in a depressing nursing home.  Situations like these make one wonder “why”.  Why did my mom and dad who were Christians suffer the way they did at the end of their lives?     


Then there’s my friend who was miraculously healed of cancer in 1974.  She was given a few short weeks to live back then.  Now thirty three years later after Jesus cleaned up her cancer filled body she’s still alive.  Yet like my mom, she’s living out her last years in a nursing home.  She suffers from Alzheimer’s while her husband faces the same stress as my dad did while looking after mom.  This couple more than most has served Jesus for many years.  The same question arises.    “Why”?  And especially “why do such good Christians end their days in such suffering”? 


A while back Larry King interviewed one of America ’s most well known TV pastor’s whose church membership numbers in the thousands.  Larry asked him this question concerning why good people suffer. 

To my amazement the pastor had no answer.  He couldn’t even offer an educated guess.  He just told Larry that he didn’t know, almost as if the question didn’t matter.  Well the question does matter, especially when one asks it in the midst of their suffering.  I know there’s lots of questions that we as Christians can’t answer properly, but I don’t think this is one of them.    


The answer is not a great mystery.  The Genesis account makes it clear that when man removed himself from God’s good graces, he brought death and decay into all of creation.  All people live under the judgment of God as seen in Genesis 3 whether they’re Christians or not.  It couldn’t be more simple.   We all endure the Adamic Curse until that time comes when Jesus destroys the last enemy of God which is death. (1 Cor. 15)  This is one of the great hopes we have as Christians.


So why did my dad die of cancer?  Why did my mom have that stroke?  Why was my friend saved from death in 1974 only to live in misery now?  And why did the apostle Paul say that “outwardly we are wasting away”?  (2 Cor. 4:16)   We live in a fallen world where death and decay is the norm.  That’s the simple answer.  


So if anyone asks you the “why” question, tell him the answer . Then proceed to explain the gospel to them that includes Jesus’ plan to eventually relieve all the suffering, war, and torment that so many in our world experience.  


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