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I found this little graphic on a teaching website. “Questions are guaranteed in life; Answers aren’t.” I don’t know about you, but I am filled with questions. Questions about life, work, people, God, universe, and the list goes on and on. I’m naturally an inquisitive person and I love to think. But does every question have to have an answer? Even if I know the answer should I spoil the pursuit of knowledge for someone else?

I believe the institutional church has always tried to be the answer people. Think about 20 years ago, if someone had a question even vaguely associated to a spiritual issue they would go to the Pastor or other trained professional to get the question answered. Most of the time the question would be answered easily and then move along with the day. If the question couldn’t be answered, then the Pastor, Priest or whatever would usually say, “We have to take that one by faith.”

I know that God is mysterious and his depths cannot be completely discovered. There are many things that happen in the world today that can’t be explained by simple logic or explanation. But whenever anyone would answer me by saying, “We take that one by faith,” I interpreted that as, “I don’t have the answer and quit asking me questions about it.”

If you ask and ask and ask and every time get turned away with no discussion or thought put into it, you’ll stop asking those people. This is exactly what has happened with the church today. For the most part, no one comes asking questions anymore. Does that mean that questions are all answered? No! It just means that no one is asking those questions within the church context. Some people think the church doesn’t want questions or can’t answer questions or if I ask a question about faith you might think I lost mine. Does any of that sound familiar?

If you have questions know this, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

We need to create a culture of questions. A place that people feel open and free to ask and enter into discussion. What better place to discuss big issues of life than with the people of God.

When we start talking about questions, it raises the question of doubt. Is doubt sin? Is doubt bad? Tim Keller (The Reason for God) says this about doubt.

“A faith without some doubts is like a human body without any antibodies in it.”

In other words doubt will always be present in the life of believers. The real question is, what do we do with doubt?

Keller continues by saying,

“People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic.”

When doubt is kept to yourself and allowed to build up within you, it can become very easy for your faith to topple over and even die.

So what can you do about this?

Be a person who questions. When doubt is lurking in your soul, don’t allow it to hide in the dark, shine the light of the Gospel on it. It will not stay in the dark very long. People of the church should be open to questions, not so that they can be answer people, but to explore with others their questions and to really hear and understand them. Don’t feel like you have to jump in all the time and answer, but allow them to come to the place where they can see it for themselves. Most importantly we need to be honest when we don’t know. This shows people we don’t have all the answers but we constantly try to pursue them and that we are real people that don’t have everything figured out. This is completely acceptable!

Let’s be a people of Question and Discussion not just a Question and Answer crowd. Not all questions have answers but they can lead to discussion and discussion can lead to relationship and relationship is the new currency.

How have you dealt with big questions in the past? How have you dealt with doubt?

Pastor Phil Robarge

Philip

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