I also saw something else here on earth: The fastest runner does not always win the race, the strongest soldier does not always win the battle, the wisest does not always have food, the smartest does not always become wealthy, and the talented one does not always receive praise. Time and chance happen to everyone. [Ecclesiastes 9:11 (NCV)]

purple coneflower - MHSP087webSometimes, in the hope of protecting the integrity of secret or sensitive information, access to information is limited to a “need to know” basis. Of course, WikiLeaks and a variety of journalists have proven that there’s little that is ever truly confidential. The HIPA Act and all of those forms we sign when visiting a doctor are supposed to keep our medical information private and on a “need to know” basis. Having just learned that my medical insurance records have been hacked, it seems that a “need to know” status isn’t much of a safeguard to one’s privacy. In spite of all sorts of precautions, hackers, whistle blowers, and informants manage to access and leak information whether we need to know it or not!

There are times we think God is keeping certain information from us that we have a need to know. We want to know the answers to “Why?” Why did he get Alzheimer’s? Why did she go into a coma? Why did this child get leukemia? Why does my child have Down’s syndrome? Why the tornado? Why didn’t the driver stop? Why can’t I have children? Why was he at the wrong place at the wrong time? Why is her child in the gifted class when mine struggles to keep up? Why didn’t she listen? Why did he kill himself? Why is there so much hate and hurt? Why did so many die in such a senseless act of terrorism? Why couldn’t you save them? Why do bad things happen to good people? Why?

I freely admit that any sermons I’ve heard that tried to answer those questions failed miserably; they left me dissatisfied and empty. The short answer, of course, is readily available in Genesis: bad things happen because man sinned. That answer, however, is anything but satisfactory. The only sermons that ever made sense were the ones conceding that, while we’re in this world, there never will be an acceptable explanation for why bad things happen.

The answers to the cries of “Why?” are on a “need to know” basis. We’ll only know the facts we need to know at the time we need to know them. If we truly needed to know, God would tell us; but we don’t, so He won’t. It’s in God’s job description to know the answers to those questions; it’s not in ours. Our job description simply requires us to trust in Him and in His plan. It appears that the angels are all rather content with their positions so we shouldn’t count on them leaking any privileged information our way. We just have to accept that when, and if, we ever need to know why, God will supply a satisfactory answer. We don’t need to know why; we just need to know Him!

You are only human, and human beings have no right to question God. An object should not ask the person who made it, “Why did you make me like this?” The potter can make anything he wants to make. He can use the same clay to make one thing for special use and another thing for daily use. [Romans 9:20-21 (NCV)]

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him. [Romans 8:28a (NCV)]