“If you ask, ‘Why is this happening?’ no light may come, but if you ask, ‘How am I to glorify God now?’ there will always be an answer.”

J.I. Packer

So many things happen to us that we don’t understand. To ask “Why?” is fundamental to our existence. My children ask it incessantly. And I answer “I don’t know” far more often than I actually have an answer.

It’s a search for meaning.

Thankfully, we often do receive answers. We can really know things–and this is thrilling. Christians believe they’ve been given, in the Bible, very important answers to some of life’s most difficult questions: What am I? Who am I? Why am I here?

But specific answers, especially to tragic circumstances, are often not given explicitly. The Why? question is important. But, as Packer says, it might not be answered. In these cases, he encourages us to ask the “How can I glorify God now?” question. It puts us into a redemptive frame. It sets our feet on mission. It helps us work through our tears, disappointment, and shattered dreams.

It’s a big step of faith to believe that there is a good, wise, and able God who will redeem our pain in the end. I take great comfort in the fact that He knows what tragedy feels like–His Son was murdered. And great comfort that He is able to redeem all the suffering–His Son was resurrected.