My mom would probably disagree with this, but I do not feel like I have ever been a super-inquisitive person. I have a tendency to take most things at face value. I will think about things and make up my mind about whether or not I agree with them, but I have just never been a person to ask a lot of questions. Every single job interview I’ve ever had has ended with the interviewer saying, “Do you have any questions for me?” and me responding with a smile and, “I don’t think so!” In class, I was often happy to raise my hand to answer questions, but never to ask them. My confirmation classes each week in junior high would include memorizing an answer to a question of faith – a question I never would have asked.
My freshman year of high school, I was in a biology class with an awesome teacher who often responded to questions from students with the statement, “Good question. Thanks for asking that.” Mr. Fredericks, if you’re reading this, I still think you’re great. I hope Korn PupH the snake is still doing well. Anyway, I wanted my teacher to recognize me for my good questions as he was recognizing my classmates, so I started trying to think of questions to ask in class. Little by little I realized that when I was asking questions, I actually started to understand more. My lame attempt to get my teacher to think I was thinking deeply about Punnett squares actually helped me to make sense of the functions of the muscles and bones in my body and why my eyes are brown and why the world around me works. I began to realize that having questions and actually asking them was vital to learning.
I have acknowledged over the past year or so that I really love learning. I have not always loved school because I was not interested in the material or felt like it was irrelevant to where my life was going, but when I can get myself interested in things, I love learning and I love knowing. I am a religion major and have discovered that I love learning about the Bible and Jesus and other religions as well. However, I think that as a Christian, these are the hardest things to ask questions about. I grew up in church and Sunday school and even attended a Christian elementary school for a few years. I now attend a Christian college. For some reason, I think that when we grow up in environments that so heartily want us to know who Jesus is, we think we aren’t allowed to ask questions, or perhaps worse, we become too scared to ask questions. I think a lot of us are under the impression that if we have questions about God or Christianity, we can’t really be Christians. However, I have come to understand that asking questions is one of the best ways to know Jesus more.
I am in three religion classes this semester: Johannine Literature (studying the books of John and Revelation), Prayer, Creed, Commandments (studying the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostles’ Creed, and the Ten Commandments), and Studies in Islam. These are all incredibly different classes, but they are all classes that are teaching me to ask questions.
As I’ve studied John this semester, I’ve realized that Jesus does some really interesting things in the Gospels, some of which do not actually make sense to me at first. I’ve learned that it is okay to ask why Jesus would tell Judas to go do what he is going to do (which is to betray him). I’ve learned that it’s okay to wonder why all the gospels don’t say exactly the same things.
In Prayer, Creed, Commandments, I’ve learned that it’s okay to wonder what it means that God is in Heaven, and it’s okay to wonder where Heaven is, and it’s okay to wonder where God is when we’re in pain.
In Studies in Islam, I’ve learned that it’s okay to wonder how much I do not know about Jesus and Moses and Abraham and other biblical figures that are also recognized by Islam.
On worship team, I have learned that it’s okay to wonder why some days it is easier for me to worship than on other days.
I have also learned that it’s okay for me to not have concrete answers to all these questions, because even just thinking about them helps me to draw ever nearer. The ways of God are a mystery, and that is part of why I love him. If I knew everything, he wouldn’t seem like God. Asking questions is natural when there are things we do not know, and our faith is not exempt from that. Ask questions. Ask a lot. Ask questions that you feel like you can’t. That’s how you learn more and more and more.
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“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.”