A friend recently asked the following question (paraphrased):
If you could ask one question to the Creator of all things, and be guaranteed an answer, what would you ask, and why?
An intriguing question. Some might want to know the reason why certain things happen to people – why are natural disasters allowed to destroy entire communities, or why do horrible accidents happen to young people? While these are natural questions to consider, I don’t think the answers would bring us any satisfaction. Certainly, good can come from bad situations, but it is simply unhealthy to search for “the reason” why these things happen. And in the heat of the situation, I doubt “the reason,” or “the good that comes from the bad,” would comfort us, even if we could know it. Regarding the bad things that happen, I humbly accept that I cannot, and even should not, understand the “why.” Instead, I believe we ought to search for the “what now.” In light of what has happened, what can I do, to bring forth “the good that comes from the bad.” As with quantum physics, just because I am told the answer, does not mean I will understand it.
As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
– Isaiah 55:9
When then, would I ask the Creator of all things? He has witnessed mass devastation from disease, war, abuse, and all manner of oppression. And yet he still created all that is, fully knowing all that would be. He knows all of the stupid things I’ve said and done. And yet he still chose to give me life, fully knowing all that I would do. The question is simple:
Was it worth it?
Are you pleased? Would you do it again? Is “the good that comes from the bad” so overwhelmingly great, even though I can’t possibly understand it, that it is worth all the suffering? Is a world fallen, and then redeemed, better than one without choice or potential for evil or disaster?
Imagine the response. What if the answer was no? That all creation is a mistake that has gone terribly out of control – a mere annoyance to its Creator. That it would be better to wipe out everything, and not even start over. The great experiment of existence has failed.
But we are still here. If there is a Creator, and if He brought us into this world, He can surely take us out of it. If existence, in all its pain and glory, were not worth it, then it simply would not (or no longer) be. The Creator has already shown His cards, and the answer to all creation is summed up in a L’Oréal commercial.
Something yet to come must be exceedingly greater, to make the present pain worth it [Romans 8:18-27]. I cannot know the details, to weigh the comparison for myself. But knowing that it is worth it, is enough to persevere.
Likewise, despite our past and regular failings, we are worth it. If you are reading this, then you are still here. The Creator decided you were worth the trouble to create. Arguing against this fact is futile. Let us stop dwelling on the pain from within and without, and search out the good that comes from the bad. Because you’re worth it. And knowing you are worth it, is enough to persevere.
Since I no longer need to ask the above question to the Creator of all things (as He already revealed the answer through logic), I would probably just ask him, “Why 42?”
What would you ask?