To live in the questions May 19, 2010Posted by orualundone in Faith Journey, Nature of God, Personal, Questions.
Tags: culture, doctrine, fear, questions
In church this past Sunday I took some time to pray during the final worship song, to try and shake off some strong reactions I felt at words the pastor had spoken which I had misinterpreted. As I bowed my head and tried to let go of my anger, I felt God speak to me: “Live in the questions”.
There are so many questions and the more I pursue God the more questions I find and the more heart-rending they become. I question the prevailing Christian culture, I question our interpretation of the Bible, I question evangelical doctrine. Some questions run too deep for me to even express them, taking only the form of a nagging, unsettled feeling. Others are all too well framed in my mind:
Why did God heal this person and not that person?
What is the place of evolution in God’s creation plan?
Does hell exist?
How much of the Bible is literal and how much is myth, allegory, or parable?
How should the church treat homosexuality?
Am I in the right job? The right state? What am I doing with my life?
And on and on in a never-ending torrent. Some of these questions I have very strong opinions about, but I would not dare to claim that I possess knowledge of God’s will on the matter. Some of them shake me to the core even to consider and lead to more questions, such as “Would I still be a Christian if I didn’t believe in hell?”.
So what does it mean to live in the questions? I’m not sure I know. I think it means that when I come to a place where there isn’t a clear answer that instead of striving so desperately against the uncertainty of it all, instead of allowing it to become a stumbling block which may batter and eventually break my faith, to simple remain in that uncertainty for awhile. Allow it to increase my faith and reliance on God. To remind me that God has the answers and that’s enough.
Because of all the questions I have and all the things I doubt, there are a few things I am sure of. That God is love. That His grace is enough to cover anything and everything. That He is strong enough to handle my questions and my doubts and my fears. And that He knows my questions before I ask and knows my heart even better than I do. And with those things in mind, the only conclusion I can come to is that my questions are as precious to Him as my faith.
For some questions I may just not be ready to hear the answer. For others, it may not be my answer to hear. The answer to some may be different for each person. And sometimes the answer may not be one thing or the other, but both together at the same time, because He is big enough for that. And some questions I may just have to live with my entire life. But I cannot hurt God with my questions. Abiding in them, exploring them, wrestling with them, and offering them up can only draw me closer to God.
Because there is no need for faith when all is certain. If I think I know His will already then I have no reason to seek His face. And there is no room for courage to grow if there are no challenges or unknowns. So I will try to learn to live in the questions, to treasure the ambiguity I have often feared and trust that if I truly need to know the answer to something I will have it at the right time.
This blog is about all those questions, especially the dangerous ones. It’s about my journey to find out who this God is for myself, not who other people or the church or the culture tell me He is. And its about learning to treat the least among us, the abused and persecuted and neglected and oppressed, the way He would have us treat them.