This seems to be the season for questions. As the church I serve at is finishing a series on Habakkuk, I have had the privilege of speaking with a couple of individuals who are wrestling with some very hard questions about the Christian faith. If you are unfamiliar, Habakkuk is a Jewish prophet who recorded his conversation with God in writing. This writing was added to the collection of Hebrew scriptures in the book of the Bible that bares his name. Habakkuk asked God some very pointed questions about life and faith. Rather than chastise Habakkuk for asking questions, God answered him. If you want, you can find the sermons on Habakkuk here.
Every time I meet with someone who has questions about God and the Christian faith, I try to commend them for their courage in asking. The Church has a bad reputation of trying to shut down questions from people wrestling with faith. “Just believe.” “Just have faith.” “Don’t ask your questions.” Such an attitude by pastor’s and church leaders is dangerous. Lo and behold, questions do not go away on command. Instead, people are made to feel shame and guilt for their struggles. In their shame, they hide their questions about God and life and faith. Then, in that hidden place, the devil has room to spin his lies about the character and nature of God. What was once a sincere quest for understanding becomes outright doubt leading to a full-blown rejection of God and of Christ.
Christians shouldn’t be afraid of hard questions. God isn’t. Instead, we see in scripture many times the people of God asking God, “Where are you? Why is this happening? Why won’t You answer?” Sometimes God shows up to answer like He does with Job or Habakkuk. Sometimes in simply asking the question out loud, the questioner remembers the goodness of God and all the times when God has shown up in the past and promises to show up in the future. (Consider Psalms 10 and 13 as well as Habakkuk.)
You see, when we bring our questions to God, we are actively engaging with Him. When we are genuinely seeking an answer, He hears and responds. It may not be the answer we want, and it may not come when we want it. Nevertheless, when we seek Him, we find Him, and we find that His presence is what we really need all along. However, when we shut ourselves off and shut ourselves down, when we cut off communication and give God the silent treatment, then we ought not be surprised to find our hearts and minds drifting further away from Him.
What questions do you have about God and Christ?
Where or to whom do you turn for answers?
One last thing, if you are a Christian and someone brings to you a faith question that you cannot answer, don’t dismiss them or their question. Certainly don’t make something up. Be honest. It is ok to say, “I don’t know how to answer that, let me get back to you.” Then, do your research, ask others for help, and get back to them. If you ever need help or resources, let me know.