Friday, November 9, 2012

questioning

"God works in mysterious ways."
"It must have just been God's will."

How many times have you heard those statements? I know I have; too many times to count. Most of the time they're said in response to a tragedy or when something else terrible happens.

It seems like so many times as Christians we are told that we aren't supposed to ask questions. We are supposed to take everything at face value without ever trying to dig any deeper.

In Matthew 18:3, Jesus tells us that we should have child-like faith. Most of the time this is equated with simplistic faith (which is partly why so many of my peers in the science world have such a hard time with Christianity). People point to children's faith in their parents as an example. Though there are obvious exceptions, most of the time children don't have to wonder if their parents love them. Children trust their parents to take care of them, and they have no doubt that their parents will live up to those expectations.

With that in mind, though, think about spending any amount of time with a child. They are constantly asking questions:
"Why can't I wear my plastic high heel princess shoes to school?"
"What is gravity?"
"Can I have candy for breakfast?"

"Why do people do bad things?"
"Why is the sky blue?"
"How can they put the electric lines up without getting shocked?"


Their questions cover everything from the mundane to the extremely complex (and yes, Raiden and Conan have asked me all those questions. The high heels one was this morning). Sometimes, in those moments after something has happened that they don't like, the tone of their questions changes:
"Why are you being mean?"
"Why did you let me get hurt?"
"Can't I ever do anything I want?"

"Why do you always get to be the boss?"
"Why was she mean to me?"
"Don't you love me anymore?"

When kids ask questions, does it make their parents love them any less?
Of course not!

Sometimes Raiden asks questions I can't answer in a way she will understand. As a scientist I love it when she asks me about things like electricity and gravity, but the textbook answer wouldn't mean anything to her right now. Sometimes, it's even good for her to ask me the heart-wrenching ones, too, because they give me the chance to wrap her in my arms and tell her just how much I love her.

Sometimes, though, the answer has to just be, "Because."
Didn't you hate getting that answer as a kid? "Because I said so!"

Matthew 7:11 says, "As bad as you are [...], you're at least decent to your own children. So don't you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?" (The Message). Though that verse applies to asking God for what we need, I think it can apply here, too.

We are imperfect people, but we still love our children. Them asking questions, even the tough questions, doesn't make us love our kids any less. Why is it, then, that we think we can't ask God the tough questions? Is it going to make Him love us any less? If we in our imperfection won't be swayed in our love, what makes us think God in His perfection will be?

Sure, sometimes the answer is going to be like the one Job got. Sometimes our questions come out of an attitude of thinking we know more than God, and then we are put in our place.

When we ask genuine questions out of a God-given curiosity or out of heart-wrenching pain, though, I think God uses them as a chance to take us in His arms and show us how much He loves us. Sometimes we get exactly the answer we are looking for. Sometimes it is simplified because we just wouldn't quite understand the full answer. Other times we get the "Because I said so!" answer.

No matter the answer, though, and no matter my question, I don't think God loves me any less for asking.
 

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Thoughts? I would love to hear them!
~Mandy