Why Did This Have To Happen?

Statue Of Women On TombHow can someone be here one minute and gone the next?  How can life be going so well and then come undone?  How can I feel fine one day and get this diagnosis the next?  How can I buy a home and then find out later they’re doing away with my job?  Why did this have to happen?

If you’ve ever experienced life threatening news, you know these questions.   You’ve asked these questions.  You’ve looked for answers to these questions.  Maybe you’re still looking for answers.

All you want to know is, “Why did this have to happen?”

In my years as a counselor, minister, and hospice chaplain I’ve watched a lot of people wrestle with this question.  There have even been times I was the one asking “Why did this have to happen?”

Let me say upfront, I don’t have a good answer to “Why did this have to happen?”  Even if I did, the answer wouldn’t seem satisfactory.  Still, I have learned something about the question itself that has been helpful.

There are two types of “Why did this have to happen?”

  • The first comes early in the experience.  It comes out of the anguish of the heart.  It’s a release of pain, not a request for answers.  Answers this early are usually unsatisfactory…no mater how correct the answers might be.
  • The second comes later in the experience, after the hurt and pain have settled and the person has had some time to adjust.  This question is more about understanding than venting.  Logical and theological answers are more helpful here than earlier.

If you’re trying to help someone who’s hurting and asking “Why did this have to happen?” remember this…

  • If it’s early in the experience, “Why did this have to happen?” is an expression of pain and calls for empathy, compassion, and support…not answers.
  • If it’s later in the experience, “Why did this have to happen?” is a call for understanding.  Answers are more appropriate here, but use them sparingly and cautiously.

On another level…

God understands such hurt and questioning, even giving it a place in His Word.  (Psalm 13)  He assures us that He will be there when the hurt is beyond words.  (Rom. 8:26)  He also shows us that there are times when just being present is more important than having answers.  (Job 2:11-13)

We may have to wait on the answer to “Why did this have to happen?”  But there will be a time when everything will make more sense.  (1 Cor. 13:12)  Till then, may God hold you up, keep you strong, and see you through.

Be an encouragement to someone by leaving a comment and sharing how you got through a “Why did this have to happen?” time.

Copyright © 2014 Bret Legg

2 thoughts on “Why Did This Have To Happen?”

  1. I have gone through the “early stages” of why and the “later stages” so many times with a couple of circumstances. There are times I go through them all over again with the same set of circumstances. Two steps forward and 20 back it seems sometimes, but I am trying to focus on the steps I have made forward and try to aim for those again. It is not an all or nothing fluid progression. The trick is to sometimes not to see the step back as a failure.

    In an early stage (s) I have ranted, vented, raged, cried in anger, cried in grief, screamed “Why?!”, et cetera. Out of wisdom and/or for their own safety, most people have not tried to offer me answers in these times.

    I have asked myself the “why” questions so many times and have been so angry at God. I am still asking why, but realize I most likely will never know the true answers and the anger goes nowhere. Sometimes there is no way to explain a completely illogical event or circumstance with earthly logic and God’s logic seems to remain unobtainable a lot times. All we have is His word to hang on to, sometimes we hold on by a thread, but we know it is there. It is immensely helpful that there are people like you who are willing and gifted with the ability to help us see the hope and comfort He has to offer.

    • I love what you said. “Sometimes there is no way to explain a completely illogical event or circumstance with earthly logic…” Couldn’t have said it better. And your right. Sometimes all we can do is trust that God is going to take the illogical and hurtful events and circumstances of this life and weave them into the bigger picture, which will one day make better sense…beyond this world. To borrow a line from “Finding Nemo”…”Just keep swimming.”


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