Over the many years of prayer, counseling, and discipling I have noticed we humans exhibit a common tendency, I might even say a unique tendency, to question. As a comparison: I cannot imagine that the elephant, upon arriving at the watering hole after traipsing many drought blasted miles only to find the place all dried up, sits down and says, “Now why didn’t they put out the sign way back at the intersection so I could have gone a different direction?” Or even, “Who drank all my water?” Or worse, “Now let me see, what did I do last week to incur God’s wrath?”
But we humans…we question ourselves, our situations, our decisions, our circumstances, our relationships. And we question God.
We are very good at disguising our deity quizzing with noble words and spiritual phrases. We have become so deft at this stealth exercise that we are often the last one to recognize our own motives.
We are confident that we would never utter the phrase: “Surely God did not really mean…”
My experience is that, excluding a small handful of mature Believers I am privileged to know, at the outset of any set back or hardship even committed Christians immediately begin to question God and to suspect His motives. I believe this is a throwback knee-jerk response left over from old, un-regenerated thought patterns. I’m also convinced that, at least in the west, it is a cultural norm. We just must have answers and, when we don’t have them, we must hold someone responsible.
Wanting answers is not the problem. The Creator evidently made us this way. The subject of my opining is the fact that we want answers right this minute. I am commenting on our propensity to behave as if God owes us an explanation.
I understand and commiserate. Although God is working on me, and I have personally witnessed many breakthroughs that have changed my heart and the way things feel inside me, I still want quick answers. I like things tied up in tidy bows. I like a period at the end of every sentence. My mind leans toward order, and mysteries are not orderly.
The problem is that the faith walk is full of mystery. It’s not a faith walk if it is not.
God is love. We know this not just because He said it but because He is so intent on proving it to us every moment of every day. But He is also mysterious. The secret things belong to Him. He will reveal things to whom He will reveal them and hide things from those He decides to hide them. His ways are not our ways.
I have noticed that when I am least seeking it His voice cuts through the noise and the busy-ness, loud and clear, to discuss something I had not even contemplated. At other times, when I am desperately seeking enlightenment (aka answers), He is mum. This is not orderly. It feels random and unpredictable and, I admit it, I often want God to be a little more, well, human.
When God is being Himself in this particular way I have two choices. I can decide that He really did not mean it when He said if I will knock and keep on knocking, it will be opened. If I will ask, and keep on asking, it will be answered. If I seek, and keep on seeking, I will find it. Without faith, that will be my assumption and I will give up, walk away, decide God is angry or petulant or petty or just plain mean…or that He doesn’t even exist. And I’ll never get my answer.
My other choice is to take Him at faith value; assume that He means exactly what He says and start knocking day and night until Someone answers, recognizing that all the questions are finally resolved on the journey itself, not sitting in my easy chair wanting resolution dumped in my lap.
Asking questions is human. To have the answers is divine. It’s only as we traverse the distance between the two that our eyes are opened, our ears unstopped, our hearts broadened, and our understanding deepened. God knows this. It’s probably why He so often waits to see if we want to know the truth or just want an excuse.
I am resolved to ask. But if God doesn’t answer right away then I realize, rather than being quiet just to cause exasperation, He is drawing me into a new realm of relationship and revelation. His vagueness is a bread crumb dropped on the path of true understanding. I trust Him so I follow where He leads, even when He leads through silence.