The Right To Speak


By Dr. Harold J. Sala

Why are not times of judgment kept by the Almighty, and why do those who know him never see his days?  Job 24:1

There are certain individuals who are qualified to speak by virtue of what they have experienced in life.  Elisabeth Elliot, for example, lost her husband, who was killed by the Aucas he had gone to evangelize.  She knows first-hand something of pain and loss.  C. S. Lewis could write of pain, numbness, and loneliness, having lost his wife to cancer.  He’d been there.  He knew what the dark valley was all about.  Doug Herman is qualified as a spokesperson as well.  When the church he was serving discovered that his wife and his little infant daughter were HIV positive, they first isolated him, then fired him.  In the months that followed, he first lost their little girl, born with AIDS, then his wife—a victim of tainted blood.

It is only natural that our hearts cry out, “Why, God?” when things go wrong and we lose someone we love.  Elisabeth Elliot has written that “God will see to it that we understand as much truth as we are willing to obey.”  In other words, she believes that only those who have completely committed their lives and souls to the Lord are in a position to say, “How come, God?”

Doug Herman, having lost his wife and baby, faced the prospect of raising their little boy as a single dad.  He lost his church, his wife, his daughter, and his brother in a matter of months.  Was he bitter?  No, but he was crushed and deeply wounded in spirit.  The title of his book What Good Is God?–which deals with finding faith and hope in troubled times–reflects his pain. The last sentence of Doug’s book answers the question he poses in the title, “What Good is God?” He writes, “He allows us to live again.  His goodness knows no bounds” (Doug Herman, Baker Book House, 2002, p. 212).

In recent days a lot of folks have had God on the witness stand.  “If He is good,” goes their reasoning, “why didn’t He prevent…?”  And long lists of options present themselves.  Few acknowledge or think about the fact that ours is an evil world, and God’s children are not immune from the rottenness and filth wrought by a depraved and evil person.  This means that children become victims of sadists and perverts, and innocent individuals become causalities.   At times disease and pestilence stalk us, and both the righteousness and the wicked fall to its onslaught.

Question:  When difficulty comes, is it wrong to ask, “God, why did you allows this?”  Many, however, turn on Him with anger and vengeance rather than turning to Him for comfort and healing when grief keeps them from understanding, even if God spoke audibly and said, “This is why.”

He lived long before my time; however, I would like to have sat at the feet of George MacDonald.  It is said that C. S. Lewis never wrote a book in which he didn’t either quote or paraphrase what MacDonald said.  He was simple yet deep; penetrating yet perceptive; practical yet profound.  He wrote, “Questions imply answers. If God has put the question in my heart, then He must hold the answer in His. I will seek them from Him. I will wait, but not until I have knocked.  I will be patient, but not until I have asked.  I will seek until I find.  He has something for me.  My prayers shall go up unto the God of my faith.”

I am convinced that when we get to heaven, one of two things will be true:  Either we will understand what baffles us right now, and in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, what has seemed so dark and foreboding will dissipate with clarity and understanding, or—and I think this is more likely—it just won’t matter.

In the Upper Room, Jesus told the disciples, “Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.  In that day you will no longer ask me anything” (John 16:22, 23).  Another translation puts it, “You will ask me no question.”

The line in heaven where we get questions answered may be very, very short.

Resource reading: Job 1. 


Dr. Harold J. Sala, well known speaker, author and Bible teacher, has served as founder and President of Guidelines International, Inc., since 1963. He is the featured speaker on the daily “Guidelines-A Five Minute Commentary on Living” which is broadcast on over 1000 radio stations around the world and translated in over 15 languages. Author of over 40 books published in various languages and hundreds of publications. Residing in Mission Viejo, California, Harold and his wife, Darlene, have three adult children and eight well-loved grandchildren.

Used with permission from Guidelines Philippines, Inc. To learn more about Guidelines and the ministry, please write to Box 4000, 1280 Makati City, Philippines or e-mail address You may also visit the Guidelines website at

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