Having questions about your faith and the things you believe can be scary and uncomfortable. But is it possible to have faith in spite of your questions? Can your faith survive that kind of tension?
If you’ve ever struggled with questions about your faith, I’ve got some good news for you. You might even be surprised at how useful—and necessary—your questions actually are.
The Case of the Missing Buffer
I served in the Army from 1989 to 1992. It was a formative experience in my life and I learned a boatload of valuable lessons—many of them the hard way.
Such was the case one Sunday evening in March during my basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey.
It was my platoon’s weekend for mess hall duty and I was assigned the task of cleaning the floor and buffing it to a high shine.
(Given the volume of mud, food, and sweat that gets trafficked in by a company of soldiers three times a day, making that floor shiny is no small feat.)
Once the final meal was served, I stacked all the chairs and proceeded to sweep and mop the floor. No problem. But after applying a coat of wax to it, I ran into a major problem.
Where was the floor buffer for the mess hall?
Time was short and I couldn’t find the buffer anywhere, so I ran across the yard and grabbed the one from the company barracks.
Even though it weighed in at a hefty 75 or 80 pounds—about half my own body weight—I somehow made the journey back and got the floors polished up just in time.
But I forgot to haul it back to the barracks when I finished. Big mistake.
At around 07:00 hours the next morning—after much profanity and spittle from an angry drill sergeant—I was invited to “beat my face” to a bloody pulp (that’s military speak for a whole lot of push-ups).
Worse, the AWOL buffer was recovered and strapped to my back where it would stay for the next 12 hours.
By late-morning I thought I would die. By mid-afternoon I was crawling on all fours. And all of this pain could have been avoided if I had simply asked, “Where’s the mess hall buffer?”
It was sitting in a closet 10 feet away.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Questions
My life would have been a lot easier had I asked that one question. Maybe I was too proud. Maybe I was too afraid. I don’t know.
But as the old saying goes, the only dumb question is the one we fail to ask.
So why does it bother us to have questions for God? Faith deals with things that are unseen. Isn’t that guaranteed to raise a few concerns?
Do we think God is annoyed by our questions? Are we afraid that having questions is a sign that we lack faith?
I think God has a much thicker skin than we sometimes give him credit for. And a few honest questions may be exactly what he wants to hear from you.
The truth is questions are far more likely to strengthen your faith than weaken it. Here are three reasons why:
1. Questions are the Pathway to Clarity
Like a journalist or lawyer, you have to ask questions if you want to get at the truth. Questions help you uncover new information, which in turn helps you make better decisions.
Honest questions aren’t something to be afraid of. They’re something to embrace. Just ask that 19-year-old private with the broken back.
The Bible records more than 100 questions from Jesus alone. He repeatedly used questions in all kinds of situations for the purpose of exploring and exposing the truth.
If you want your faith to grow, don’t shy away from tough questions. Wrestle with them—even when a clear-cut answer isn’t quick to surface.Suppressing your doubts will only feed your doubts. Click To Tweet
2. Questions Apply Pressure and Lead to Growth
Pressure is an important and powerful force. Too much pressure can crush and destroy, but the right amount can produce something wonderful.
Diamonds are formed under intense heat and pressure. And your morning orange juice? Well, “fresh squeezed” is pretty self-explanatory.
Questions perform the same function for your mind. They press you for an answer. And when an answer isn’t available, they turn up the heat on your lack of understanding. They push you to explore—to dig deeper for the truth.
Questions lead to knowledge and understanding. They lead to your growth.
3. Questions Lead to the ‘Why’ Behind the ‘What’
It may be important to have all the facts—and asking the right questions can help you gather them. But analyzing the facts is the all-important next step.The difference between information and understanding is a one-word question: Why? Click To Tweet
Correctly interpreting the facts and understanding their true meaning and application is the real goal. That is called wisdom. And that is the magic of why.
Knowing what you believe about God matters, but the wisdom that comes from understanding why you believe it matters more. It’s the reason for acquiring information in the first place.
Faith and doubt are not enemies—they’re simply two-sides of the same coin. So don’t be afraid of a few doubts to your faith.
Some newfound wisdom may be waiting on the other side.