We don’t have adequate answers to many things. Asking appropriate questions can provide answers to some puzzling scenarios of life while other areas must be accepted by faith. The providence or divine directing of our lives is beyond our comprehension. Many times, though, we can discover answers for ourselves as we evaluate different things through personal experiences and the observations of an inquisitive mind that asks ‘why’ and ‘how?’ Having questions can compel us to search for answers, fueling the inner drive to explore possibilities and experience more as we are not content with our present level.

Three Biblical questions

1/. What must I do to inherit eternal life? (Lk 10:25; 18:18). Paul and Silas provided the answer, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Act 16:30,31; Rom 10:9).

2/. “What will you do with Christ?” (Mt 27:22). If we accept His offer of salvation and continue in the Christian faith we will spend eternity in heaven, but those who reject that offer of mercy will suffer in eternity bearing the penalty for their own sin.

3/. “Do you understand…?” Philip asked the Ethiopian and then explained the Scripture to him, leading to his baptism (Act 8:26-39). Paul challenged his readers with a series of ‘how’ questions which form the basis of all evangelism (Rom 10:14,15).

Three personal questions we need to clarify in our minds:

Who am I, where have I come from? – the need for identity.

What is life, why am I here? – the need for purpose.

Is there life after death, where do I go? – the need for hope.

Faith trusts even when we don’t understand why we can’t get satisfactory answers. Whatever happens keep following Jesus, not casting away your confidence in Him when you are being tested; “We live by faith, not by sight” for we don’t understand the purposes of God as His ways and thoughts are vastly different to ours (Isa 55:8,9; 2 Cor 5:7; Heb 10:35,36). There are many unknowns this side of heaven, which is why the Christian life is called a ‘walk of faith’. Walking humbly with God involves trust when things don’t make sense – although I don’t know why, I believe He is a God of love who has my best interest at heart. Rather than trying to get a ‘why’ from God, ask ‘what do you want me to learn from this?’

We don’t know all the answers because we don’t see the bigger picture that God sees. In heaven we will know and understand to a greater degree because we will see things from God’s perspective (1 Cor 13:12). God is not obligated to give us a reason for the manner in which He works in human affairs. We live in a sin-affected world, blighted by decay, evil and often unexplainable mysteries although He sometimes allows things to happen to get our attention. Many times we can only declare, “Shall not God of all the earth do right?” or be like Paul, who accepted God’s “My grace is sufficient” statement (Gen 18:25; 2 Cor 12:9).

In our own natural thinking, we can’t comprehend why God allows bad things to happen to good people, including His own son, Jesus. God wants people

Don’t let questions stop you trusting God

who will trust and follow Him regardless of the circumstances, people who will discover triumph in the midst of tragedy, purpose in persecution, peace and quiet yet deep assurance even in the storm. Allow God to do what is necessary in us. God is bigger than we can comprehend, His ways past finding out, so we should not rely on our understanding but instead trust Him who works out everything in conformity to His will (Prov 3:5; Rom 11:33; Eph 1:11). “Can man fathom the mysteries of God?” (Job 11:7). Even if we could do so, without His love it would be futile (1 Cor 13:2).

Although God has allowed evil in the world for a time and it has totally twisted justice and bought heartache in a multitude of ways He has promised to destroy all wickedness one day.  Meanwhile suffering can strengthen us and bring Him glory as we focus our attention on Him and others while remaining faithful despite the trials we experience – by keeping all things in perspective because all things work for our good (Rom 8:28). It’s the inability to see any good in adversity that brings unrest, discontent and a feeling of hopelessness.

Satan often raises questions about what God has said – “Did God really say that?” or challenges some fact – “If you are the son of God...?”  (Gen 3:1; Mt 4:3,6). This approach will either weaken our stand through doubt or will make us more steadfast, by clarifying our thinking and resolve to accept God’s Word as the authority, not our human opinion.

A good teacher should sometimes ask questions of their students.  This engages people and enables feedback for gauging how they have grasped and understood the information given thus far.  We should answer people’s genuine questions if we are able to, or point them to a source where they can discover the answer.  If you do not know the answer, say so.  People asking questions about our faith are often looking for a valid alternative to their current source, so be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks the reason for your hope (1 Pet 3:15). Sometimes unanswerable questions arise.  Don’t get involved in debates as they are only a waste of time, a smoke screen to stop addressing the known and vital issues that should be addressed (Tit 3:9-11). No leader should be above honest questioning or accountability (2 Cor 4:8-11; 2 Tim 3:16). The truth is not threatened by being questioned, yet when recognised as valid it must be accepted. Thus it is healthy to clarify the facts which provides a robust and secure foundation on which anchor our faith. Critical thinking objectively examines the evidence and so factual beliefs are formed, rather than just unfounded opinions.

How great is God’s wisdom and knowledge?  It is impossible for us to understand His thoughts, decisions and methods (Rom 11:33). Though many of Job's questions were not answered he was still able to trust God profoundly and his faith remained strong in the goodness of God (Job 19:25-27, 42:2,3).

See also: answers, critical thinking, curiosity, doubts, mystery, providence, questionable practices, self-pity, sovereignty of God, trust, what if, why.

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