Two Ways to Stay Out of the Why Trap


When we’re in the middle of the heartbreak and emotion of a loss—any loss from the passing of a loved one to the loss of a dream or job—it’s easy for us to get stuck in the “why” trap.

We want to know why something happened, or what we could have done, should have done or would have done. We query, analyze and center our life on these endless and most of the time unanswerable questions.

When we’re faced with loss, we need to understand that the “why” is a dead-end path. It only leads to dead-end emotions of bitterness, anger, frustration and personal angst. The “why” path and these emotions put us in bondage and our lives drift into negativity, remorse, guilt and soon become closed. I know, I’ve been there.

We do have a choice. We can, instead of the “why,” focus on the “what.” We can focus on the truth of the circumstances and the truth from God’s Word.

Circumstantial Truth. When my father went to heaven a few years ago, I could have plunged into the why. I could have walked the path of all the things I should have said, should have done, and a lot more. Instead, I focused on the what. I remembered the wonderful ten days we had together before he passed. I could choose to remember him as a man of integrity, a veteran and father. I chose the truth of the circumstances.

God’s Truth. Jesus declares in John 8:32, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” It doesn’t get any clearer than that. When we focus on the truth of God’s Word, God’s character and God’s will, we are set free from the bondage of the “why.” Author and Bible study leader Kay Arthur wrote, “Freedom comes from knowing truth—and the One who is the Truth.”[1]Author and teacher Beth Moore put a finer point on it when she wrote, “The enemy is hoping we’d rather remain in denial than face the truth and let God’s Word penetrate our lives and set us free.”[2]

The “why” road leads to destruction. Taking it, at one point in my life, led to over ten years of anger and frustration. I caution you, don’t go there.

Instead, choose to focus on the “what” of both the circumstance and God’s Word. You’ll be on the right path and you’ll be on the way back from loss.


My new book, The Way Back From Loss, is now available in both hardback and e-Book editions from Amazon and other book retailers.


[1] Kay Arthur, Free from Bondage God’s Way: Galatians/Ephesians, (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1994), e-Book edition

[2] Beth Moore, Breaking Free: Discover the Victory of Total Surrender, (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2000), 94


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Trust is the winsome wedding of faith and hope.

Brennan Manning

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