Friday, January 9, 2015

God isn't afraid of your questions

My favorite thing about King David is his honesty. He may not have been very honest all the time with his human peers, no, but he exhibits an astounding and brutal honesty before his Creator. If ever there was a man to take it to God and tell it like it is, it was David. And I'm not only referring to David's honesty about God's power or glory or majesty or might. I'm talking about how honest he was about his feelings.

"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night I find no rest." (King David, Psalm 22:1-2)

David Repents

I think this honesty is something we've lost in many hearts today. I wonder if we've been taught that God should be respected so much that we have to protect Him from ourselves, as if we're too dirty, as if He were afraid of that, as if He wouldn't want to help.

When I was 13, my grandpa died. I had been struggling with the question of God's existence and some questions about heaven for a good while at that point, but his death really brought a lot of those questions to the forefront of my mind. I remember one day asking my dad one of those deeply personal questions, one of the questions that was bothering me most, and his response was one I would never forget: "Don't think like that." That answer characterized how I thought about religion for a long time -- that, in order to have faith, you had to give up thinking, and feeling, especially when your questions might upset someone.

So, I kind of just gave up. Many of those questions went unanswered for years, and instead of allowing them to be open questions, I closed them up in my heart. These questions of my heart, no longer allowed to see the light of day, became the state of my heart. "God, why have you forsaken me?" became "God has forsaken me, if He exists at all." "God, why did you let this happen?" became "God doesn't care, if He exists at all." "God, do you exist?" became "How could God possibly exist? No, stop. Don't tell me; it will hurt too much to know that such an apathetic yet malicious being is truly on the other end of our existence."

I think a lot of people can relate.

Why are we so afraid of questions? Are we afraid that we'll lose church attendance if people start questioning things? Are we afraid to lose precious soldiers in our precious Culture Wars? Are we afraid of people questioning things we hold dear? Are we afraid because we have the same questions?

Thankfully, God isn't afraid of our questions. He isn't even mad about them. Not once did He reprimand David for inquiring about His apparent absence in His life. Not once did He send down fire from the sky on David's head for asking where the hell He was when he was suffering. And He doesn't do that to us, either. In fact, God is very much concerned with our thoughts and feelings, especially about Himself. The first words of Jesus quoted in the Gospel of John are, "What are you looking for?" The next are, "Come and see."

Jesus doesn't mind our questions. He would mind if we stopped asking them. He doesn't want us to stop searching for Him; He wants us to search until we realize that it's not even us doing the searching, rather, He is the one searching our hearts. He knows us perfectly, but He wants to engage in an intimate relationship with us. He wants us to share with Him. He wants us to come to Him.

He wants us to ask Him questions.

He doesn't ask for a blind faith. He asks for faith enough that He'll be allowed to heal our blindness. Don't know where God is? Ask Him, it's okay (Jeremiah 29:13). Don't know why He seems to have left you alone? Ask Him, it's okay (Psalm 22). Don't know if He's good, if He's trustworthy, if He's loving, kind, compassionate, or if He even exists? Ask Him. Tell Him. He won't be offended. And if you aren't satisfied, keep asking (Luke 11:5-13).

He isn't afraid of us. He isn't afraid of our feelings. He isn't afraid of our sadness. He isn't even afraid when we're angry with Him, when we yell at Him, when we kick and scream and let it all out before Him.

Bring it.

He can handle it. And He wants to.

"Pour your heart out before Him." (King David, Psalm 62:8)

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