“How can Jesus be with us? I can’t see him!”
“Why did Adam and Eve eat the fruit they weren’t supposed to?”
“Are zebras good or bad?”
Though I know this will change, my three-and-a-half year old son has a hard time believing I don’t know everything. Sometimes, he gets downright frustrated when I can’t give him an answer.
There are times when I wish I could reflect God in being all-knowing, especially when I read the Bible or interact with others about spiritual things. Studying Deuteronomy alone has led to many questions about nations being blotted out, sins that were supposed to result in stoning, or children from forbidden religious unions being excluded from the tabernacle.
Even reading through the gospel of Mark with a friend makes me wonder over Jesus’ words about being salted with fire, forgiving others so the Father will forgive my trespasses, or believing that I have received what I ask for in prayer.
No Questions? No Answers.
A recent speaker at our church shared that if we are willing to articulate and wrestle with our questions, we will be able to better recognize when we’ve found the answer.
God has also used a book called Show Them Jesus by Jack Klumpenhower to encourage me in my question journey and as I seek to walk alongside others with their questions.
When reading the Old Testament, Klumpenhower challenges us to look at the overall character of God–how He cares for his people in the Old Testament, and how He does the same and even better for us in Jesus.
He also invites us not to ignore the tensions in the Old Testament, but instead look to the good news of how it is solved in Jesus. (Impossible to follow the 10 commandments perfectly? Jesus has done it for us, and in His death, offers His righteousness to those who are joined to Him.)
When we study Jesus’ teachings, we should zoom out to also consider the larger context of His work, and what kind of person He is.
Sometimes God’s ways seem mysterious, but He showed us from the time of walking with Adam and Eve in the garden, to tabernacling with the Israelites, to coming to earth as a baby, that He wants us to know Him and experience His presence. When we know His character and consider His themes of love, redemption, and forgiveness through all of Scripture, we can trust that the One who knows the answers can lead us in His wisdom.
In Psalm 25:4-5, 8-9 David prays:
Show me your ways, Lord,
teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long. . .
Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
He guides the humble in what is right
and teaches them his way.
But What About Everyone Else?
I’ve often been scared of someone asking me a question about Jesus that I don’t know the answer to. In fact, I still get scared about that.
But if Jesus was concerned about simply answering people’s questions, he wouldn’t have given these sorts of responses when He was on earth:
As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. (Mark 10:17-18)
They arrived again in Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking in the temple courts, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you authority to do this?”
Jesus replied, “I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or of human origin? Tell me!” (Mark 11:27-30)
Jesus looked into people’s hearts to see what they were really asking. He always knew the perfect response, and didn’t care whether people thought He was smart or not. (Or even whether He’d make people mad enough to kill him.)
When Job lost everything, he asked all kinds of questions as he spent chapter after chapter processing his pain. God responded with teaching Job about His greatness, which left Job nothing to say but:
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. (Job 42:3)
What if, by asking questions, God led us and others to acknowledge His power and understanding, to grow in faith, and to find rest in a God who satisfies us whether we find all the answers or not?
What if, by insisting that God answer my questions, I miss what He does want to show me?
What if He wants me to search for answers with my husband or other believers?
What if I don’t need to know how every little piece fits together because God has already brought everything together under one Head in Jesus?
What if Jesus doesn’t care whether I win an argument with someone who believes differently than I do? Can I trust Him to give me the words I need and the faith that He can work in others’ lives whether I come up with the right response or not? Or even if I give the wrong response?
Jesus is interceding for us. Will we receive what He’s praying for us?
“Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. . . I have made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17:24, 26)