The Reading Test
Recently, my six-year-old did not do so well on a reading test. When we asked him why he said that he did not understand some of the questions. We talked with him about asking for help which he had not done. He is six, he will get it and I know that and as a parent, it is sometimes tough because he is at the age where I have to start letting him figure some things out on his own. No matter how hard I want to fix everything for him, I can’t.
We have all been in that situation before. We get asked a question that we really don’t understand but we try to answer anyway. Usually, that does not work out in our favor and our guess is wrong. I think back to my time in school, I do vaguely remember high school, and I realize that my teachers, for the most part, were always open to questions and took the time to explain things further if needed so that everyone could understand.
When It Comes To Faith
What about questions about faith and scripture?
Have you ever sat in church and listened to the preacher and when he was finished you thought to yourself, “I just don’t get it”? I’ll be honest, I have.
Have you ever had an experience in your life that made you question something about scripture or faith? I’ll be honest, I have.
Have you ever gone through an experience and thought to yourself, “Where was God during that time”? I’ll be honest, I have.
For many Christians, the answer to those questions is yes. The problem is that most Christians, like me and my six-year-old son, have a hard time asking the question. We have a problem admitting that we don’t understand. If we do admit it to ourselves it is not something we usually share with other Christians. We are so afraid that someone will judge us or that we are the only person who has ever felt that way.
The Old Way
In the church, we are always told that if we have questions to pray about them and I believe that is the best solution because God is the answer and He will provide. However, if a person is confused and has questions, they may not even know how to pray for what they are looking for. We must erase the stigma inside the church that says having questions is wrong and we should never have them.
Should the Church not be like school? In school, if we had a question, we asked. In school, we learn that there are no dumb questions and that if you have a question then the chances are that someone else has the same question. Guess what? The church is no different. Now, I cannot say that you should raise your hand and interrupt the pastor but there are ways to ask the question. If the pastor is working during the week, call the office and ask your questions. If I can let out a little secret, I will tell you this; most pastors would love the opportunity to talk more about their sermons.
From my own experience, I know you only preach about half of what goes into your preparation and notes. There is no harm in asking the pastor for a little clarity and chances are they will love the opportunity. If for some reason, you are not comfortable asking the pastor, then ask someone you respect in the church. Have that discussion. I have always thought that Sunday morning preaching is not just for Sunday morning. Take it home with you and focus on it during the week. Look over the scripture references and let God speak to you through them.
Having questions is in our human nature and that is evident in scripture as numerous people doubted and questioned Christ even while witnessing His ministry. It is also part of this world that our faith will be tested and the key to strengthening our faith is coming out on the other side of those trials. Some of these trials may include doubts and questions but man, how much stronger is your faith when you come out on the other side of those questions, knowing that God is the answer?
Unfortunately, in today’s church, it seems that we either are not comfortable enough or are not willing enough to discuss our questions, or we are so afraid of our own questions that we discourage others from asking theirs. If we are really going to reach out to the next generation and help them address their doubts, then we MUST address our own doubts first. The Millennial generation and beyond are not blind, when they enter our doors, they can see the doubts and questions on our faces and if we are not comfortable discussing them, then why would they feel like it is okay for them to ask their questions.
As I wrote in a previous blog, we must let our children be little and ask questions; we must give our adults the same platform. If something about scripture or faith is giving you doubts or causing you to have questions, then talk to someone and talk it out. Let someone guide you through scripture and ease those concerns. Do not discourage others from asking their questions; because if we are not addressing these issues in the church then they will turn to the world and the world will be all too happy to answer their questions with answers that will pull them further than the truth.