Question asking is absolutely necessary for vital faith and understanding. Questions are a bit en vogue these days. Just recently, I was chatting with someone who said they were an agnostic but shared that “they had questions”. The fact that someone has questions should be music to a Gospel-sharer’s ears.
But questions are not always vehicles for truth-seeking. Previously, I have written about how Satan’s questions to Eve were not seeking truth but instead trying to confuse the truth. Questions need to enlighten not darken. The rich young ruler asked questions to Jesus but not in order to find out how he must follow, but in order to justify the way his life already was. Questions need to be ready for tough answers. Job, Scripture’s great sufferer, asked many questions of God but he wasn’t entitled to the answers he may have wanted. Some questions don’t get answered the way we want. There may be no such thing as a stupid question but there are ways not to ask them. We must ask them wanting truth, ready to act, and ready to accept a different kind of answer.
Today (and finally) I’m turning to one of my favourite question-askers in the entire Bible – the Apostle Paul. Of course, some of the best questions he asked were before he was known by that name. Saul the Pharisee was on the warpath in Acts 9. Breathing threats and murder he travelled to Damascus in order to persecute the Christians there. Christ appeared to him and blinded him with light (this wasn’t merely a metaphor but just think about it a minute). As he lay there on the road, he asked two of the most amazing questions ever:
Who are you, Lord?
What do you want me to do?
What was so great about those questions. Well, firstly they seem to really information. Paul didn’t ask: are you really the Lord? Second, the answers coming were ones that would change Paul forever – they smashed his pride and turned his life upside down. Third, they were questions that were asked out of humility.
Paul had been brought low by Jesus and he really wanted to know about Him. Many questions about God don’t really want any answers. It is easier in a lot of respects to live with questions because then we don’t need to rearrange the furniture of our lives. Paul wanted to know who Jesus was and then how his life needed to change in light of that truth.
Questions are a necessary part of discipleship. We need to ask them of people wiser than us. We need to ask them of the Bible. We need to ask them of God Himself. May all our questions seek truth and that truth fuel obedience.