This year has been jammed packed with people sighing deeply “why God.” So many people we love and serve have shared with us their “why God” moments and we have carried their pain. So often when I hear a person saying, “Why God” I am compelled to try and encourage this person to not doubt Papa’s love but cling to Him desperately. For too long, I have thought that “why God” was a moment of not trusting God or even being angry at God. I feel like God gave me an early Christmas gift when He showed me fresh insight on “why God.” The insight had a red bow tied around ‘why God.’
I read that in the Hebrew Scriptures you sometimes asked a question not because you expected a literal answer, but because a question was another way to express your feelings. When a Hebrew asked “why,” it was a “lamah.” It was a question that expressed the painful struggle in the heart of the Hebrew who said, ‘lamah.’ King David asked God why (Psalm 22:1), but he had never intended to take Him to task with that question. His “why” was a “lamah” and He was not asking the Lord to explain Himself. He was merely pouring his heart out to God. He was telling his Lord that he felt abandoned.
It occurred to me that the Lord must have cherished David’s simple lamah. It was the cry of a child, who not understanding, yet STILL CLUNG TO HIS FATHER. (Deut. 33:12). God saw David as a child with his face buried in the Father’s chest, crying and whispering lamah. No wonder God described David as a man after His own heart. David would utter his lamahs without indictment or finger pointing at God. A descendant of David would one day cry out a loud “why” on a cross (Matt. 27:46) and this “lamah” would be a most holy and righteous moment in the life of Emmanuel.
What a blessing to be reminded that my “lamah” is not necessarily a moment of sin, but a moment of sighing and expressing my grief over recent painful news. I am also reminded that the Holy Spirit is a “co-groan-er” with each of God’s children. He takes our lamahs and brings them to the Father (Romans 8:26) and the God of all Comfort responds to our lamah. Of course there are moments when a person’s lamah is flowing from great anger and a desire to indict Papa God. Today at church we heard such painful news about a dear sister in Christ. An immediate ‘why’ came to Ken and I and during worship we buried our faces in the Father’s chest in crying out “lamah” on behalf of our suffering sister!