Many times I’ve been in classes where asking a question seemed like the dumbest thing to do. Who wants to look stupid? Certainly not me. And yet I’ve heard and said it myself, “The only dumb question is one not asked.”
I wonder how many questions lie packed away in the recesses of our minds that if asked could have changed our lives significantly?
On a regular basis I encounter people who so desperately want to ask questions about faith and life. However, they’re only willing to ask these questions and discuss them if they are given the freedom to do so and a safe place to ask them in.
Now asking questions is no guarantee that there are answers that will fill in the blanks or make clear what is mysterious. For example, “Why is there suffering if God is good?” That’s a great question and one that challenges both faith and life.
The questions you have are probably many of the questions I have too. They are human questions that probe at the mysteries of life and the God behind that life.
Asking questions does not indicate lower intelligence nor do they necessarily suggest a lack of faith. In fact, asking questions are necessary to all kinds of growth, including faith. St. Anselm, one of the early church fathers, is credited with coining the phrase “faith seeking understanding.” Our questions are the way we seek a faithful understanding of both God and life.
Are there black and white answers to questions of faith and life? Some would suggest there are, but I would be wary of anyone who thinks they can put God or life in a box, as if there was nothing left to be revealed or understood.
Christian faith exists because it confesses a particular revelation of both God and life. However, it also recognizes that there is far more mystery around our meager understandings of God and life than actual certainty in terms of black and white facts. Realizing that humbles me and yet I am confident in continuing to ask and explore questions trusting that God lovingly holds all creation in the midst of so much mystery.
If you are interested in exploring these questions of faith and life I invite you to join me at Trinity Lutheran beginning Wednesday, January 16 from 7-8:30 pm. Bring your questions about God, salvation, church, life or whatever, and let’s seek a faithful understanding together.
– Pastor Tim Graff
* This article appeared in the Ponoka News on January 9, 2013