Written by cycleguy on April 25th, 2018

I’m reading a book right now called Notes from the Valley by Pastor Andy MCquitty,  subtitled “A Spiritual Travelogue Through Cancer.” No…I don’t have cancer that I know of. But so many people whom I love and care about do. Andy is no different than “regular” people. Just because he is a pastor does not mean he did not ask the same questions other do.  Many people expect pastors to be “above others.” They don’t want a pastor who is better than them or thinks he is better than them. They don’t want a pastor who thinks more highly of himself than he ought to.


They also expect him to be above the fray. You know… he should never ask or question God.  He should have perfect faith. Never a doubt. Never a fear. Never a raised voice in anger toward God.

May I let you in on something? Get your head out of the sand! I put my pants and shirt on the same way you do.  As much as I wish I could sometimes, I don’t tear open the buttons of my shirt (sort of hard since I wear t-shirts so often) to reveal a Captain America logo. Or a giant “S.”  I/pastors have feelings just like you. Just like your cancer-ridden friend.  Just like your friend whose parent’s mind is being ravaged by dementia or Parkinson’s. Just like you when you have heard of another friend who has been diagnosed with cancer. Or a baby born with physical problems.

Just like you Pastor Andy asked, “Why?” “Why me and not him?” Just like you your pastor struggles with having answers to unanswerable questions.

And just like you I am sometimes astonished God answers a prayer when I least expect it or in a way that is not on my radar. What prompted this post? Several things. I’ve already told you about my friends. But I also have been reading in Acts as I read through my ESV Reader’s Bible and read the story today of Peter’s release from prison by the angel. He goes to a house where they are praying for him and the servant girl is so astounded she leaves him outside. When she tells the people praying they say, “No way. No. No. No.” (my version). And when she convinces them to take a look they are astonished God answered their prayer. I chuckle at that. Not because of their lack of faith, but because “been there done that.” (Full story in Acts 12:6-19)

So ask “Why?” Go ahead. Ask away. He will not turn a deaf ear. But let it lead you to the One who can answer it.  But I have also learned there is a better question to ask. Instead of why, the better question is “What now? How do you want me to respond?”


5 Comments so far ↓

  1. Linda Stoll says:

    A death and a diagnosis of cancer. All in one week in one family. That’s what I’m thinking of this morning.

    Like you, I encourage my clients to ask the ‘what’ questions instead of the ‘why’ … they seem to lead to more helpful paths.

    Like ‘what are you inviting me to Lord right in the midst of this grief?’

    • cycleguy says:

      Two life-changing events in one week…in one family. WOW! I appreciate your words of affirmation about what you encourage people to ask.

  2. Crystal says:

    Trying to learn that important switch from “why’s” to “what now” – think that for me the difference it brings about are a totally different focus. When I ask “what now” it helps to keep my focus on the “good, good Father” who is in control. And somehow “why’s” seem to lead to more “why’s” whereas “what now” leads down a totally different path for me. My “why’s” so quickly turn into self-focused grumbling and complaining where the “what now” question tends to lead to noticing God’s hand at work despite the circumstances. Wish I could say I never ask “why” anymore, definitely something I long to have changed consistently.

  3. Yes, the better question is “What now?” God is ready to meet us and our needs right where we are if we’ll let Him.
    Blessings, Bill, or should I say, “Captain America?” 🙂

  4. Betty Draper says:

    It seems everywhere we turn lately someone we know has cancer. I think it takes more faith to deal with cancer than moving overseas. I just got an email from another friend we served with in Papua New Guinea, her brain cancer is back and there is nothing them can do. I ditto what Linda said, helping someone change their question is how we can be an encouragement. Thanks Bill for this post, much needed since I have two ladies friends are dealing with cancer right now.