My kids ask a lot of questions. A LOT! The 20-minute drive to school in the morning is a mixture of my baby girl’s “Why? Why? Why?” and my son’s more inquisitive and specific questions. First of all, the Why stage is the longest child development stage because it never ends. It just graduates to more complex questions. So while my baby girl is asking me why is my belly squishy and am I storing anything in there, my son asked me these series of questions last week: “Why are the traffic lights green and red? Who chose those colors? Did you have electricity when you were a kid? Did you know the guy who invented it?”
On Sunday, I preached on Mark 9, focusing on verse 32 where the disciples are afraid to ask Jesus a question. I then asked the congregation what questions are they afraid to ask. Somewhere along the way from the Why stage to the days of asking more complex questions, we, in general, lost either our curiosity or stopped asking questions. Maybe because we don’t want to appear stupid or even worse, unfaithful. Whatever the reason, these are some of the questions that they wrote and offered to God.
- God, if you are all powerful, all-knowing, and good, then why is there evil in the world?
- Dear God, will we ever have a second child?
- Why is starting a family (infertility) so difficult? Why is work so stressful? Should I look for a new job?
- Is our effort to live the faith enough? Is the journey the destination?
- Is human identity eternal?
- Why is religion so awful?
- When you forsake me or my family, will I be strong enough to heal?
- Why do people and families suffer so much hardship? death, poverty, health issues
- Why have you given me such a desire to be in control when you are the one in control?
- Why do bad things happen to good people?
- God, why is doing good such a challenge?
- How do you turn our shame into freedom – freedom to worship you and not ourselves?
- Do you really have a plan and a call for all of your children? And how do we learn to turn our ears to hear your voice?
- How do we find peace and patience whilst others find our value?
- How can I love those around me more?
- How can I best serve you?
- How can I understand what you really mean at the level of my daily ordinary life in the stage of life I am at now and how to explain you in more modern language to the generation coming up?
- How far is too far?
- What was Jesus like as a boy? 1-10, 11-15? And when (how old) was he when he died? in his 30’s? How long did it take to write the Bible?
- Why does there have to be so much brokenness in relationship?
- My steps seem to stumble – yet I stride to a place that I cannot see but somewhat feel . . . is this path endeavoring with You?
- Why have you given me so many talents that seem challenging for me to express? Yet thank you!
- How can we interpret Elijah going up in a chariot to heaven? I believe it when I hear Mendelsohn!
- How can I feel your presence more? How can I help instill faith in You in my kids if I have so many questions or don’t see things in terms of black and white? (i.e. I think it’s easier to believe as a child if there aren’t so many shades of grey.)
- How can we help young people know You (God) in a personal way?
- When will you come back?
- Why do so many people need to fight over religion when You are such a peaceful God? Why is there so much tension between/among groups of people and a possible human self destruction? Is this a test of free will?
- How is it that evil impulses in people are allowed to thrive and injure everyone else? Is it just a lack of faith or sense of not belonging? Can they be saved before their destructive ways harm the innocent? Why are these forces allowed to exist?
- Why did you decide to create mankind?
- Dear God, how do you always know what is right?
- How can it be your will to have such suffering in the world?
- How do you want us to raise our children? In what tradition?
Some of these questions are age-old questions, some are personal, and some are more inquisitive, but I hope that my children always feel safe to ask whatever questions they have. I hope they never lose their sense of curiosity. I hope they know that asking questions is a very faithful act. And I will do my best to muster up all the patience in the world when my baby girl pokes my belly for the umpteenth time and asks, “Seriously, who is in there?”
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