We cover our deep ignorance with words, but we are ashamed to wonder, we are afraid to whisper “mystery” (Tozer).
Faith has been reduced to a comfortable system of beliefs about God instead of an uncomfortable encounter with God (Yaconelli).
As a classroom teacher, I know the power of questions.
As a Christian, I have been subtly programmed to question the consequences of questions.
I recognize as a teacher questioning shifts the power paradigm in my classroom…and I welcome that. I worry that in other arenas, such as faith, this shift in the power paradigm is not so accepted.
But this morning while reading Exodus 3, I could not help but notice how God honors questions. In fact, it was Moses’ willingness to stop and question which prompted his interaction with God:
He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.”
Moses saved the Israelites from back-breaking and spirit-crushing slavery…because he paused, noticed, and asked why. But even greater, his questioning conversation with this bush revealed the most authentic Truth about God to date (in my opinion):
If I come to the people of Israel…and they ask me “What is his name?” what shall I say to them? God said to Moses [in response to his profound question], “I AM who I AM.”
I recognize the historical elements at play here, that God’s name could not be stated, and thus the symbolic “I AM.” But what a powerful symbol I AM is.
I am now. I am then.
I am everything. I am nothing.
When we are scared–I am courage.
When we are mourning–I am comfort.
When we are confused–I am guidance.
There is nothing in our lives we need that God is not, because God. Is. I. Am. The perpetual present-tense of presence.
But this weighty and wonderful insight would not have come had Moses not questioned.
We question God without apology, we march into the presence of God bringing our armfuls of questions–without fear–because God is not afraid of them. People are afraid. Institutions are afraid. But God is not (Yaconelli).
Just as we see with Moses, in the question is the connection. In the wonder is the bond. In the mystery is the meeting. In the inquiry is the intimacy. In the risk is the relationship.
Risk, as we have seen, is indispensable to any significant life, nowhere more clearly than in the life of the spirit. The goal of faith is not to create a set of immutable, rationalized, precisely defined and defendable beliefs to preserve forever. It is to recover a relationship with God (Taylor).