DURING THE MILLENNIUM in Heaven, I have no doubt as to one thing that will occupy much of God’s time. Answering questions.

  • Why, God, did You not answer my prayers?
  • Why did You let the one I loved die?
  • Why did You allow so much injustice, so much misery, so much violence and pain?
  • How could You look on as innocent women and children were abused, as Darfur was consumed with starvation and atrocities, as corrupt politicians majored in bloodshed and hypocrisy—and do nothing?
  • How could You let the Great Controversy go on so long?
  • Where were You during the Holocaust as six million of the people You claimed to love died like animals?
  • Why did it seem so often that You were silent—that when we needed You, it was as if we’d been abandoned?
  • And why did You let this whole horrific drama get started in the first place?
  • When Lucifer rebelled, did You really have to cast him down to this earth? Couldn’t You just have banished him to some remote, uninhabited corner of the universe?

Why? Why? Why?

For now, we have to hold all these questions—and so many others—in abeyance. Abeyance: a word most dictionaries define as some variation of “temporary suspension.”

It’s uncomfortable to have our pressing, urgent questions, often arising from great pain or horror, go unanswered. It’s grievously difficult to see what we see, hear what we hear, and go through what we experience, without the Great Why constantly arising from our very core to challenge our faith.

But faith is precisely the key to it all. Holding questions in abeyance until we’re safely on the other side is the essence of faith. It’s what enabled beleaguered Job to say, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” Job 13:15, NKJV. Job could not see the full picture—he did not know what was going on behind the scenes in the Great Controversy. He didn’t understand why the God he loved seemed absent and uncaring while his life fell apart. And the chasm between what Job did know and what he did not know could only be bridged by faith.

It takes not just faith but humility for us to hold our questions—and our conclusions about God—in abeyance until we have complete information. Because that intrinsically assumes that we don’t and can’t know it all. No courtroom trial is complete until all the available evidence has been presented. Only then can the jury reach a decision. And if in fact, the hour of God’s judgment has come (Revelation 14:7), then we shouldn’t be rushing to judgment while, in this life, we’re operating with incomplete information—with only partial evidence.

God sees plenty that we don’t see. He knows not just the past—but the future. He knows the ultimate consequences of every action, choice, and event. He knows whether present pain will be worth final reward. He knows whether answering your prayer or mine—in just the way and at just the time we wish it—would be the most wise and loving thing He could do for us, or not.

The fact is, that if we can discipline ourselves—and have faith enough—to hold our Whys in abeyance, someday soon on the other side, we’ll get all of our questions answered. And when we do, we’ll agree with God’s decisions. We’ll see that if we could have known what He knows, we’d have made the exact same choices. Till then, we may ask each other Why, we may speculate and wonder and try to supply our own answers—but God is the only one who has the answers.

True, given our limited information and perspective, it may seem at times as if God is either asleep at the switch or is as caring as an absentee landlord. But how fair is it to judge our Judge when we can’t possibly see what He sees or know what He knows?

For now, we have only two choices: To trust God’s wisdom and love, based on what we’ve already learned of it in our lives—or to descend into bitterness and disbelief.

Every single day when I check the news and hear about the abused body of yet another child discovered—or when I pray, and it’s as if the heavens mock me with silence—I struggle to cling to the faith I have. But with time, I’ve concluded that God does care about these things—infinitely more than I do—and that He is far more eager than I am to end the misery and get to answering the questions.

Meanwhile, abeyance.


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