Peace With the Question Marks
Fascinated by the most minute details of Scripture, Jewish sages have paid special attention to the very first word of the Bible, beresheet, which means “in the beginning.” Drilling down on the first letter of this word, bet b, they pointed out that this is the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Why, the sages wondered, did the Bible begin with the second letter of the alphabet, rather than the first?
In her book Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus, Lois Tverberg provides their fascinating answer: “To show that the Scriptures do not answer every question, and not all knowledge is accessible to man, but some is reserved for God himself.”(1)
Even for those of us who believe in Christ, life is full of question marks. Why did my child get ill? Why did my marriage fail? Why did my job evaporate? What is going to happen to me? How will I get through this? What if I don’t? Countless questions surround us, as they do every person. At times, God provides answers. But there are many times he does not. What do we do then? Do we become frustrated, angry, fearful? Or do we decide to keep trusting him in the middle of all the question marks?
I think the Jewish sages were onto something. God both reveals and conceals. Some things he simply keeps to himself. And that is all right because he is God. He knows what we need to know and what we don’t.
What are the question marks in your life right now? Take a few moments to lift them up to God, trusting that he knows the answers, though you may not. Tell him you are confident that he is big enough and good enough and wise enough to deal with each one in a way that displays his faithfulness and care. Then leave the questions right where they belong—in his capable hands.
(1) Genesis Rabbah 1:10, quoted in Lois Tverberg, Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2012), 156.