I’ve always been a question asker, a seeker of knowledge. I hunger and thirst for answers, for insight, for understanding. And this question-asking has often served me well, for questions can lead to a greater awareness of God or of His cosmos or of the human creatures He so lovingly tends. Questions can lead to worship and wonder, to praise and appreciation, to connection and intimacy.
My journals are evidence of this incessant question asking; they’re littered with questions. They’re filled with their fair amount of lament too, and plenty of Scriptures-turned-prayer, but always and ever, questions. Questions like:
Why did Jesus tell the lame man at the pool of Bethesda to stop sinning or something worse might happen to him? What was his sin, and what was the worse thing that might happen to him? Elsewhere Jesus says no one sinned, the man born blind or his parents. What’s up with that?
The Jesus who says “Come to me and I will give you rest” seems so different from the Jesus who speaks of “the narrow way.” Why the difference??
If Jesus claims to have other sheep not of this fold, why does He initially ignore the Syrophoenician woman?
Why does Jesus say “whoever is not with me is against me” but elsewhere says “whoever is not against you is for you”???
The Jews said Abraham was their father, but Jesus disapproved of them. Is it possible to THINK God is our Father and be wrong??
Are you angry, or are you compassionate? I see both in the Gospels, and both in the Old Testament. Which are you right now??
Then one day the nature of my questions changed. They swerved abruptly away from the search for more of God and careened dangerously toward the selfish:
What is wrong with me? Why am I so stressed?
Why am I so tired? Why am I so discontent?
Why am I so unhappy when my life is good and I “should” be happy?
I’m having more and more NOT OK days. What is wrong with me?
Where is my joy? Why am I so numb? Is there hope for me?
I don’t know what’s wrong, but I know I need help.
Why am I looking to others for affirmation?
Why can’t I connect with you?
What’s wrong with me? Is it depression? I’m a shell, even my husband says so.
I just don’t want to work. I say and think that all the time. Is it burnout?
What’s wrong with me God?? Give me a diagnosis!
I flung my questions at a heavenly Father but nary an answer did I receive. Finally one day, after months of asking unanswered questions, I posed my last question (though I didn’t know it was my last at the time): Jesus, who do you say I am??
Jesus answered that question with a question of His own: Who do YOU say I am? It was a punch in the gut. You mean it’s not all about me, God? You mean maybe, just maybe this whole thing is about You??
A few days later I sat down with my journal and my cup of coffee and officially reached the end of my questioning. All of a sudden I said to God, I don’t need to know the answers anymore, I need to get well. I want to get well.
Jesus didn’t even ask me the question He’d asked the lame man by the pool of Bethesda. I just professed my answer to Him. It was my declaration of need, my declaration of intent. It was a resignation, a proclamation that I didn’t require an explanation of WHAT ailed me as long as I knew the Person who could take my ailment away.
It was thus that my string of fruitless, self-centered questions ceased. It was thus that my prayers began returning to praise, to worship, to the nature and character of God rather than the nature and character of me. It was thus that I began to live out the confession of the disciples in John 16:30: “Now we understand that You know everything, and there’s no need to question You.”
Even so, I know that the questions might come back some day, and when they do, I pray I will remember sooner the truth of these words from C.S. Lewis:
“I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer.
You are yourself the answer.
Before your face questions die away.
What other answer would suffice?”
What areas of your life seem to generate questions?
Where do you find Jesus revealing Himself as the answer and calling you to greater praise and intimacy?