Why Did This Happen, God?

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13 (NIV)

Has God ever hurt your feelings? I’ll be honest, sometimes I’ll read those verses from Philippians and think to myself: This is a tough pill to swallow.

Content in any and every situation?


When my middle daughter, Ashley, was younger, she was a state champion gymnast. To see her do gymnastics was like looking at God smile. She was beautiful, graceful and captivating to watch.

Then one night while practicing for one of the largest tournaments she’d ever competed in, she fell. It was a move she’d done hundreds of times with the greatest of ease. But this time something went terribly wrong and that one mistake destroyed her gymnastic dreams.

We spent a year going from doctor to doctor, only to be told she’d never be able to support the weight of her body on her injured shoulder again. Watching a 14-year-old girl wrestle with the fact that her dreams were stripped from her doesn’t exactly lend itself to feelings of contentment. Now, I know in the grand scheme of life, people face much worse situations. But in her world, this was huge.

It was so tempting to want to wallow in the “why” questions and tell God He’d hurt our feelings.

Why did this happen?

Why didn’t You stop this, God?

Why weren’t my prayers answered?

Have you ever been there? Have you ever had a big situation in your life where you just couldn’t process why God would allow this to happen? Maybe it’s one of your young children having behavioral issues that seems crazy complicated and daunting. Or one of your older children having issues with addictions and devastating life choices. Or your husband being distant or possibly even destructive in making choices that are harming your marriage. Or another year of singleness that brings you wave after wave of grief, while watching others celebrating the gift of true love.

It’s so tempting to wallow in the “why.”

Asking why is perfectly normal. Asking why isn’t unspiritual. However, if asking this question pushes us further from God rather than drawing us closer to Him, it is the wrong question.

If asking the why question doesn’t offer hope, what will?

The what question.

In other words: “Now that this is my reality, what am I supposed to do with it?”

Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.”

I like to call this verse, “Directions on Where to Park My Mind.”

And that’s exactly what Ashley had to do with her dashed gymnastics dreams. Instead of wallowing in why did this happen, I had to help her say:

This is my reality. Now what am I going to do with it?
What can I learn from this?
What part of this is for my protection?
What other opportunities could God be providing?
What maturity could God be building into me?

Switching from the why to the what questions paves the road to parking our minds in a much better place.

Is it always easy? No.

But is it a way to find a perspective beyond situations where we feel God has allowed something in our lives we don’t understand and we absolutely don’t like?

Yes, it is, and I pray this helps you today. Because even if our circumstances aren’t good, we can trust God’s purpose always is.

Dear Lord, I want to process everything I face in life through the filter of Your love. I know You love me. But sometimes it’s just hard to understand the circumstances that come my way. I find myself consumed with trying to figure things out rather than looking for Your perspective and trusting You. Thank You for this new way to look at things. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

If disappointing circumstances have left your heart feeling empty and depleted, you can trade those feelings for a more personal fulfillment from knowing who Jesus is. That’s what my new Bible study, Finding I Am, is all about. You can pre-order your copy here and receive FREE resources you won’t be able to get once the study releases!

And today I’m giving away 5 copies of the Finding I Am study guide to randomly chosen commenters! Just leave a comment below for your chance to win.


  1. Emma says

    I have asked why did my husband batter me, why am I in this situation. The why doesn’t matter much anymore. I have to focus on the ‘what’ now.
    I have to pick up roots and move, yet again. I am 57 and should looking forward to my golden years. It looks more like coal right now. I need this book and others to help me re-invent myself.

  2. Susan says

    Hi Lysa. I have been blessed by your ministry in a lot of ways. Your honesty about the hard things to share. Is something I struggle with. First 5 is very encouraging and a devotion I look forward to every morning. This is the first time I have ever left a comment. I have quite a few of your books as well. I thank you and hopefully will continue to grow in God.

  3. Melody Tucker says

    Lysa I love your devotions and read them daily but one of these books I would love to give to my daughter who is going through a nasty divorce and is struggling daily with the why questions and more. Thank you and God Bless you for sharing.

  4. Sarah says

    I really needed to read this. I am struggling with the why’s of so many things in my life right now from my child and my dad passing away, my husbands addiction and having to raise 3 children on my own. I am happy to learn that I need to learn to change it to what instead. I would be extremely happy to win a book to get more insight.

  5. Lucy says

    Well Lysa,
    Just trying to mentally prepare myself for the journeys of 2017 and for all that God Has planned.

    I have a few unresolved conversations to have with someone and I am trying to tune in to what Gods wants me to say.

    I have felt so detached and in the midst of grieving and it is only now I feel like I am reawakening.

    Just want to surround myself with good companions and wisdom.
    Perhaps your book can help with some of this.

    Gods Blessing to you and yours,


  6. Belinda Hilley says

    My 45 year old niece just had a massive stroke. I feel this book would help all of us try and understand that God is truly in control. Hoping to start 2017 with being more in touch with Him. Thank you.

  7. Debbie says

    I really need a good book like this! I am not even sure how we became facebook friends, but just skimming through your post I was captivated to read, and thefe was so much I could relate to,

    I was adopted at age two and suffered from two disfuntional families. In my early twenties I met the man I spent 15 years of my life with. I was looking for love and security. I had also alwsys longed for a family of my own. While it did ptovide some love, stability, security. We grew apart with trust and respect issues. Once we married he was extreemly emotional and verbally abusive. During this time I got t o know my biological cousin who God used to give me hope and the strength to try once again to move past the broken relationdhip.

    I have moved to Austin, TX where my biological roots are from, and I have been here for 20 months now. God has been so very real to me and held my hand like a loving father every step if the way. Still its been very tough getting established, and the reality if being 37 and having nine of my life dreams or goals met have left me in deep pain.
    Again God has more real than ever in my life, and I have given my life to him, joined a church, and been baptized in 2016.

    I like you feel God wants me to share my story, and feel I have a calling on my life to help the broken people. I am
    Searching and praying for Gods guidance and what exactly this looks like. Please be in prayer with me and if God gives you any words of wisdom and direction to share with me. Please e-mail me at. debbiereed30@hotmail.com

    • Lysa TerKeurst says

      Hi Debbie!

      My name is Mary Scott Mercer and I am on Lysa’s team. I read this, and wanted to let you know that I am emailing you this morning!

      Thanks so much,
      Mary Scott Mercer
      LT ministry team

  8. Jamie Smothers says

    Lysa, I had the privilege of hearing you speak in Pigeon Forge, Tn 2 years ago at the Women of Joy Conference and you were Amazing! Your books are amazing! You are such a wonderful speaker and touch the lives of so many. I also love your app and enjoy waking up and reading a devotional first thing in the morning. Thank you for your teaching and your giving to others!


  9. Coreena says

    This study woukd be perfect for me at this time in my life!
    God Bless you Lisa for opening up and sharing so I can learn to come out of my shell and share.

  10. Heather says

    I received my book in the mail today and can’t wait for the study to start! Thank you for this opportunity to find out who I am!!!

  11. Alona Beech says

    Whoever read my comment I want to let you know that I would love to have this book so I can share it with my co-workers that are facing their own struggle in life. My name is Alona, I live in Fernley Nevada, I am a wife, a mother of my two beautiful daughters.
    Thank you so much

  12. Alona Beech says

    Oh hi it’s me again, I just want to let you know that January 30th is my birthday and this book would be the best present to myself from you guys!!!

  13. Carole Searles Sutton says

    I always come to your daily devotions for the needed encouragement. I am struggling with a few life events and have found great comfort in your teaching. I thank God for you as He continues to use you to help myself and others dealing with life and it’s trials/tribulations. I have lost all my five siblings, watching my mother transition through Alzheimer’s, and going through the decline of a third marriage. I am witnessing the devastating impact of substance abuser on my current husband as he desires to continue on that path with disregard for his health. I do know that God is able to bring me through it all and in Him I trust. Carole Searles Sutton, Waukegan IL. Be Blessed in Jesus Name. Amen carole.searles@gmail.com

    • Lysa TerKeurst says

      Hi Carole!

      We are heartbroken so read these words… Please know that we are praying for you.
      Lord Jesus, we pray that You would draw close to our friend this morning… we pray that You would give her strength to keep walking step by step with You today. Renew her spirits and give her hope for her marriage. Grant her wisdom to know how to handle each one of these situations.
      We love You, amen.

      Many blessings,
      Mary Scott Mercer
      LT ministry team

  14. Lillian Jambon says

    On Sept 25, 2016(which was my birthday) I was blessed to receive tickets to the Arise Woman’s Conference in Lafayette, La through Our Savior’s Church. It was truly a blessing to me to receive and attend the conference. I had been in a somewhat lost state since the loss of my husband almost 7 years ago. I was kinda living life through a tunnel or with blinders on. After, attending this conference it has shed some new light in my life for having a deeper and closer relationship with Our Lord Jesus Christ. I took the words “God is Good at Being God” to a whole new level, as well as the words “you never know what’s on the other side of your OBEDIENCE” It was the beginning of my clarity and freedom journey. Continuing on my journey in faith and trusting God even more for his blessings in my life. Thank you for your ministry. Looking forward to the messages you have to deliver. Lillian

  15. Amber B says

    Absolutely love you Lysa!
    Your studies helped me in Such a dark time in my life and by me doing your study unglued- it help me control my reactions and rely on God!
    Choosing to control my reactions & be sunshine and show a more compassionate self to my husband, family & friends and eventually leading my husband to the Lord!
    Keep doing want your doing and God Bless!

  16. Pam Buckner says

    I am so excited to learn of your new bible study! I lead a women’s bible study and have been praying for God’s direction for our winter/spring study. I received your “Finding I AM” booklet in yesterday’s mail and feel as if God answered my prayers. I plan to do your online study and then lead my group of wonderful Christian Warriors, aka Women of Faith,
    Thank you for loving our Lord and Savior and allowing His energy and direction to lead you to write this study.

  17. Tamara says

    Hello. My mom just shared your site with me. I am having some medical issues right now and I am scared to death. Your site gave me a peace when reading through it that I needed. Thank you.

  18. Sarah Patton says

    I have yet to start one of your bible studies but I am interested in starting a small study in my home town which is about 100 people. I received a message from a friend that she said I should enter and start this study. Regardless if I win or receive anything I think this is the Lords push for me to receive the holy spirit in courage to start a small group! Thank you for all the positive wisdom you give to your readers and to those that spread the good word.

  19. Melissa says

    Lysa, your honesty refreshes my soul. I just started reading uninvited and the timing is so God. Rejection has been a big part of my life since a very little girl. Starting with my father…. I tend to make up stories about people and circumstance that I believe fit what I feel about myself . Terribly sad… but God is at work and using your insight to help me. Thank you for all you do and give out.

  20. Donna says

    Words can’t explain all the reasons that I need this. It goes from a death to a neuromuscular disease attacking a family member all within three years, and the uncertainly of three in the family who will not talk about God at all. The walk I am on is hard but God is there and I keep praying. Many thanks if you choose me.

  21. Jamie says

    Most of my life I have struggled in many ways, mostly financial. I became to know Jesus in my youth group after being abused by my ex-step father who forced us to go to church every Sunday. It wasn’t until I became 18 yrs old that he used my aunt to redirect my life from a bad past. As an adult, my children were abused by their ex-step father & I never saw it. I continue to seek those questions of God during my adult life & guidance. I search for what I’m doing wrong to bring so much evil into my life & my loved ones. I could really use this to help me seek God’s reasons.

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