“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

I have a lot of friends hurting right now. Friends from three separate communities…they don’t know each other.

Each story is different–but entails the common theme of loss or potential loss that seems meaningless. The perceived waste of lost time, lost investment, lost prayer, lost relationship, lost hopes and dreams–they stack until we’re screaming through our tears: “WHY?!”

It’s an ancient question–old as humanity: Why did God let The Creep into the Garden? Why allow paradise to be lost? Why exile? Why thousands of years of a very slow plan of redemption that seems to allow pain on such an exponential scale of suffering that we wonder how God could possibly be both as good and as powerful as our Sunday school teachers claim.

I don’t know what you’re going through. I won’t pretend to. I know it’s better to sit with Job, than to offer terrible attempts at “answers.” Like the “answers” that Job’s so-called friends gave him (which were mostly rebuking Job, and insisting that he deserved his suffering–because after all, ‘You reap what you sow,’ right?).

I don’t know what you’re going through. But I can sit with you–even at this distance. I can pray and intercede for you if you find your prayers are perplexed.

And if I do say anything at all–it should probably be from someone wiser than me–like J.I. Packer, who commends the “How am I to glorify God now?” question as a trusty way to move in the midst of your grief and pain.

Don’t get me wrong–God is big enough for your “WHY?!” There are plenty of those in the Bible–especially from our Dear Lord who cried out, “My God, My God, WHY have you forsaken me?”

God can handle your WHY because His own Son cried it out on your behalf.

But, if you need to figure out what the next best thing is: Packer’s “HOW” question might just be right on time.

Kyrie eleison.