In high school, I was on the tennis team. Shortly into my first season, the coach gave me a question limit: I was only allowed to ask five questions each practice. After just a few weeks of answering what probably felt like an endless stream of questions everyday about the sport of tennis, our match schedule and how the scoring system works, I’m sure he was almost at his wit’s end.
For those who know me, this is not surprising. I have always been full of questions. Even from a young age, I was intensely curious: Where does the sun go at night? Why do people speak different languages? How do horses talk to each other? As I grew and matured, so did the nature of my questions.
When I started to think more critically about my faith, I began peppering my parents, my pastor, my Sunday School teachers and my youth group leaders with complex questions about God, the Bible and theology. They patiently answered me the best they knew how, but I was never quite satisfied with their answers.
CALLED TO A BLIND FAITH?
Somewhere along the way, I started taking my questions directly to God. I asked Him which way of baptism and communion was correct, how He could send a flood on the earth to wipe out most of humanity and if creation and evolution fit together. I asked hard questions and hoped He would give me the answers for which I was searching. I came to Him boldly, but humbly, and I learned that God wants dialogue with us.
I have been berated by a lot of Christians for bringing my questions to God. I have heard a lot of well-meaning people say we should just trust God and not worry about the questions that plague us day after day. But I don’t think God calls us to a blind faith. I believe He welcomes our questions and wants to work through them with us. I have found that God enjoys journeying with us.
I don’t think God is angry when we ask questions. In fact, I believe He invites us to ask Him questions.
God created humanity to be curious.
Have you ever been around a child for an extended period of time? The thing that strikes me time and time again about children is their curiosity. They ask a hundred questions per day. They want answers—they want to know why and how things are the way they are. Children remind us of our natural curiosity.
I find myself wanting the same things: answers to my questions, to finally understand why and how the world, faith and God works. Even if we never find the answers this side of heaven, I believe God delights in our childlike curiosity about Him and the world around us.
God is big enough for all our questions (and even our doubts!).
Fear keeps us from asking questions. Fear says that asking questions is dangerous. Fear tells us that the character of God will not be able to withstand our questions. And if God falls, our entire being falls.
But here’s the good news: No question (or level of doubt) could ever cause God to crumble. God is really great at being God. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. We are free to ask Him questions because we can rest assured that God is God.
Even Jesus asked questions.
If Jesus demonstrated humanity at its best—as God originally intended—it would make sense that we follow His example. And even Jesus asked questions of God.
Perhaps the most notable question Jesus asked was the one He cried out during His slow, painful death on the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” In other words: “God, where are You?” Jesus, so broken and exhausted, knowing the worst was still yet to come, asked for more of God. He cried out, longing to know God more deeply, to better understand His Will.
When I ask God questions about gun reform and climate control, I am doing the same. I am not asking questions to try to test God; I am simply asking to know Him and His heart for humanity more deeply.
HOW TO ASK GOD QUESTIONS
While I believe we are invited to ask God questions, I also believe the heart behind the questions is important. Why do we ask questions? Are we asking to glorify God or to show off our own arrogant intellect?
Here are a few guidelines to follow as we ask God questions:
- Ask questions to know God better—not to pretend you are God and have all the answers.
- Ask questions to better serve others—not to prove yourself correct.
- Ask questions to challenge oppressive theology and doctrine—not to perpetuate discrimination within the Church.
- Ask questions to bask in the wonder of the Lord—not to try to fully understand what we know is unfathomable to our human hearts and minds.
So gather your questions and come with me to the foot of the Throne. God is still reigning—today and forevermore.