“We cannot ask that question. We don’t know the answer!”
The scriptwriters were working on a children’s video called Stephen’s Test of Faith, in which a young boy travels through time to learn the history of persecution. They were working on a scene from when Christians were thrown to hungry lions after being accused of setting Rome on fire.
“We can’t have Stephen ask, ‘If God protected Daniel in the lion’s den, why didn’t he protect the Christians in the Coliseum?’”
Why would God protect one of his children and allow thousands of others to perish? The lead scriptwriter thought and answered, “It is not the answer that’s the problem; it’s the question. We should not ask, ‘Why?’ We should ask, ‘Are we willing?’ Daniel was willing to perish before the hungry lions. Believers were also willing to die in the days of Nero. The fact that one escaped and the others didn’t does not change the condition of their hearts. It is our obedience that creates the witness, not the act of suffering.”
When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were to be thrown into the furnace by Nebuchadnezzar, they said, “The God we serve is able to save us from it . . . But even if He does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods” (Daniel 3:17–18).
Many people today are asking why. We have entered a new era of unanswered questions regarding unexplained tragedy. The world is crying out for answers to its questions, yet we all know that no answer would be sufficient to heal the pain. Even if we knew the reason tragedy occurred at every specific level for every individual, it would do little to ease our heartache. Instead, we need the faith of Daniel’s companions who said that even if God chooses not to move in the way we prayed he would, we can remain confident that He is working all things together for our good. Instead of asking why, pleading for understanding, we must pray for peace that surpasses it.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
▪︎ Adapted from ‘The Voice of the Martyrs’