Is It OK to Question God?

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Karen Jensen-Salisbury

My husband, Brent, went to bed early. It was New Year’s Day 1997, and the preceding 24 hours had been crazy—really crazy.

As we did every year, we had rung in the New Year with our close-knit church family in Boise, Idaho. We had celebrated with games, prayer and lots of good food. A few stragglers had hung around until about 2 a.m. As the pastors of the church we had been the last to leave, finally locking the doors and dragging ourselves home in the wee hours of the morning.

An emergency phone call from a church member awakened us very early on New Year’s Day. Running on three hours sleep, Brent had climbed out of bed and gone to help them.

That day I had managed to sneak a nap in, but Brent hadn’t. He and our sons, ages 12 and 13 at the time, had watched every college football bowl game on television and even gone to a nearby park and played their own game with some neighborhood kids.

By 9:30 p.m. Brent could barely keep his eyes open. With a smile he leaned over and gave me a kiss.

“I love you,” he said over the noise of the TV show I was watching.

“I love you too,” I said, glancing up from my cross-stitch project and smiling at him as he walked toward the hallway.

When I went to bed, about an hour later, I found that Brent had stopped breathing. I called 911, and paramedics rushed to our house. They were unable to revive him, and later at the hospital he was pronounced dead.

“I love you” were the last three words we would ever say to each other on this earth. I’m sure thankful. It left me with no regrets.

As you can imagine, my life changed drastically after that night. Most significantly I became senior pastor of our church, and I became a single mom with the responsibility of raising our sons through their teen years—two things I had never expected to do.

When a heart-wrenching event happens, some people balk at asking God big questions, either fearing the answer or unsure that they should even ask. But not me. After that night, I had questions.

Man oh man, did I have questions!

  • Why, God, why? How did my big, strong, healthy 37-year-old husband, who hadn’t been sick at all, simply go to bed one night and suddenly end up in heaven?
  • Why didn’t you tell me? I was right in the next room watching television, for crying out loud! Why didn’t You notify me so I could help him?
  • How could you let this happen? What about divine health? What about Your protection? What about satisfying us with long life?

I had questions … Why, God, why?

This is my story. What about you? Sometimes life can be hard and painful. I wish there was a way to avoid the painful things altogether, but unfortunately there isn’t. We live on an earth with the curse of sin, which means that awful things do happen. What has come about in your life that’s caused you to ask, “Why, God, why?”

What occurrence has blindsided you? What painful event has stunned or dismayed you? Maybe your very foundation has been shaken by death, illness, a broken relationship, financial disaster, a bitter disappointment or another life-altering circumstance. As a result, you may be having trouble moving past the pain. You may be seriously doubting your faith in God.

First, please know that there is One who understands. God has a way to bring you through your hardest times.

We should ask God all the questions we want. In fact I think He is the first One we should ask. So go ahead, start asking. Remember, God is your Father. He loves you! He already knows everything that has happened in your life, and best of all He also knows everything that will happen in your future—so who better to talk to when something bad happens?

Second, our heavenly Father is faithful, and He loves you so much. He doesn’t want you stuck in the land of hurt. He has made a way out. He wants to heal your broken heart and help you embrace your bright future. So don’t be afraid to ask. He is there to help.

Adapted from Why God Why? What to Do When Life Doesn’t Make Sense by Karen Jensen, copyright 2013, published by Charisma House. If you are experiencing doubt and confusion that comes with pain and loss, this book will guide you through them and provides solid principles for moving forward past the pain and into a brighter future. To order your copy, click here.


This week heed the admonition in Hebrews to go boldly before the throne of grace to find help in the time of need. Your heavenly Father knows what you need even before you ask so feel free to let Him know all that is in your heart. Thank Him for His promise to never leave or forsake you. Tell Him that you will trust Him no matter what you see in your current circumstances. Continue to pray that the body of Christ would unite in prayer, plan and purpose for repentance and revival in our nation and across the world. Remember Israel and those persecuted for righteousness sake. Pray that our government leaders would seek the Lord for guidance as they make decisions affecting our nation and the world. Heb. 4:16; Matt. 6:8; Heb. 13:5

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