February 4, 2019

Not Why, But What

Isaiah 55:8-9 graphic

One thing people quickly notice when getting to know me is that I am a question asker by nature. I ask questions because I believe that questions will lead to gaining more knowledge and/or a better understanding. But lately, I have found that there is one question that often does not lead to learning or understanding. It seems to lead to confusion and frustration. This is the question of “Why?”

In difficult circumstances, in the midst of heartbreak, in moments of confusion, the question of “why” comes naturally, but is not one that brings light to the dark situation. Rather, it only seems to make things darker. Not only does the “why” question seem to bring more darkness, but it also seems to bring some indirect blame and accusations upon God. When asking “Why, God, did you let this happen?” one can fall into a pit of anger and bitterness when the question is not answered. This question can lead to questioning God’s character and cause us to forget the nature of the great I Am.

So I’ve stopped asking why.

I wish I had a deep theological reason as to why. I wish I had Biblical backing to support my reasoning. Truth is, the question of “why” never gives me the answer I want, if it even gives an answer at all.

Now, I am starting to ask the question of “what.” More specifically, I am asking the question, “What does this teach me about God?” I believe that this question is one that leads me out of the darkness and into truth.

Some of the biggest “why” questions I typically find myself asking are: “Why are there so many orphans?”, “Why would a parent abandon a child?”, “Why aren’t more people doing something about this?” But I am transitioning to questions like “What does the orphan crisis teach me about God?”, “What does God the Father look like to these children?”, and “What is God asking me to do about this issue?”

Some of these “what” questions are able to be answered after pausing and reflecting for a moment. While others answers take days, weeks, or months of active listening and searching. Sometimes asking even more questions is required.

So far, I am able to learn more and have a clearer understanding when I ask the “what” questions. I am able to acknowledge the truth of what God declared in Isaiah when He said: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Asking the questions of “what” don’t only apply to questions about orphans, either. Asking “what can I learn about God?” in the midst of the hardest seasons of life seems to be able to turn our view from one of anger to understanding and a hardened heart to a posture of humility.

Think of all the questions you’re asking God currently. How many of those are “why” questions? Try switching it to a “what” question. Let us know what you’re hearing from God.

In your prayers, would you also remember The Boaz Project? You can join us in praying for these requests:

-Pray for our Boaz connections in Russia as they seek to develop a network of resources for foster parents. Establishing a network of good connections is still a new concept. Pray for these relationships and connections.

-Pray for a home facing religious persecution in India, that the Lord would provide the resources necessary to meet the demands placed on them by the Department of Child Welfare.

-Ask God to fill all of our 2019 teams for trips to Russia, India, and Kenya.

(For more info about our trips see: boazproject.org/trips

-Pray as we strategize a campaign in order to build a home for orphans in Limuru, Kenya.

“Doing small things with great love”,

Taylor Pennycuff

Staff Writer

The Boaz Project, Inc.


  1. Dawn Baggett says:

    This post strikes me big as I have a knee-jerk reaction of asking why to my kids especially (a question they hate, and as you describe, tends to have less than stellar results). After reading I am committing (with renewed determination) myself to refrain from asking why, and replace the why questions with less intimidating “what” questions — great idea!

    • Taylor Pennycuff says:

      So glad you found this article helpful! How are you doing with the “what” questions? Have you noticed a difference?

      Thanks so much for writing.

  2. Jewel Marie says:

    Thankyou. It taught me a lot

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