Questions are something a teacher normally expects from their students. There may be a problem if the teacher does not welcome or tends to avoid questions. In fact, good questions would likely lead to innovative ideas that ultimately help resolve a problem. I believe a great teacher should take delight in the questions asked with respect and honesty.
There are many things we cannot understand in this life. Asking questions is, hence, a natural response when we are faced with unexpected circumstances. Coming to God, the Author of Life, with our questions and concerns, is, of course, not wrong.
Questions can help us realize our limitations (humility), show our deep cares and struggles (honesty), reveal our curiosity and desire to learn more (hunger), and express our aspiration and expectation (hope). It is okay to question God and He is neither surprised nor intimidated by our questions.
Question with Lamentation
The Bible actually records many examples of people having questions for God.
In his suffering, Job threw out question after question to God (Job 7:17-21). His struggles were so intense that, at some point, he rebuked God (Job 40:1-2) after receiving frustrating advice from his friends. God finally answered him with grace, and through that personal conversation (Job 38–42), Job acknowledged the sovereignty of God and His unfailing love and repented (Job 42:1-2, 5-6).
Even King David and Jesus Christ asked the same question with lamentation: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Psalm 22:1, Mark 15:34). It is a cry of humanity as a result of sin (our sin that was placed on Jesus). This mourning reveals our sincere, deepest longing to be with God at all times (Job 19:25-27). And this all goes back to the story in the Garden of Eden.
The very first question God asked for humanity is, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9). Since the Fall, humans are separated from God and can no longer be in His holy presence. The same question resonates with us today as if God is asking, “Where are you? Are you with Me?”
This may sound like a probing question, but it is essentially a loving question from God who always wants to be with us. Thank God, that’s not the end of the story — not only did He ask the question, but He has provided the answer in His Son, Jesus Christ.
Question with Passion in Seeking Christ
God is not playing hide-and-seek with humanity. Through the weeping prophet Jeremiah, God poured out His heart, “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13). Jesus, himself, also commanded the disciples to keep asking, keep seeking, and keep knocking (Matthew 7:7-8), while James encourages us to ask God for wisdom (James 1:5). In the human perspective, life is a journey of seeking God (His kingdom, His will). In this pursuit, questions are obviously inevitable.
However, instead of humanity reaching out to God, the truth is that God has already reached out to humanity by becoming fully God and fully man, Jesus Christ. The Bible is the record of God seeking after humanity rather than humanity seeking after God. Therefore, the answer to our life’s questions, such as identity, origin, meaning, purpose, morality, and destiny, is ultimately found in Jesus Christ.
Questions That Lead to Christ’s Words
In the gospel, we can find multiple times how Jesus answered his questioners with powerful, life-transforming statements. Here, we see the examples of those statements from different conversations Jesus had with people from various backgrounds.
In response to the Pharisee, Nicodemus, Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:4-5).
In response to the Samaritan woman, Jesus said, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:11-13).
In response to Thomas, His disciple, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:5-6).
In response to Martha, Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” (John 11:21-27).
In response to a young rich man, Jesus said “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me” (Matthew 19:16-22).
In response to his disciples, Jesus said, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:23-36).
In response to the Scribes, Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:35-40)
What Does This Mean?
Regardless of our motives in questioning God, we have to know that God loves every questioner. In fact, God has invited us, “Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord… (Isaiah 1:18). Our questions matter to God. And when our questions are driven by hunger and thirst for righteousness, Jesus promises that we will be satisfied (Matthew 5:6). What we should always remember is to ask every question with a respectful and humble attitude of faith, not out of pride and hatred.
Finally, let me conclude with this great, inspiring statement from Dr. Ravi Zacharias: “Behind every question is a questioner. Humans are searching for an answer when what we really need is a person, and that is the person of Christ, which God has provided.”
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Olivier Le Moal
Philip Wijaya is presently a graduate research student at the University of British Columbia living in Vancouver, Canada with his wife, Sandra. His interest in science and faith in God has encouraged him to write in a blog (philipwijaya.com), with a hope of better understanding the truths in the Bible in relation to scientific views and discoveries. Besides research and study, he also enjoys sports, music, and traveling.