Husband and I took the youth group retreating a couple weekends ago.
Though the rambunctious-ness of twelve middle school girls was inevitable (and, really, quite fun), the purpose of the overnight was for them to find a little quiet.
Rest in the busy-ness.
Stillness in the distraction.
They forged relationships with each other at two in the morning while I was sound asleep. And in our free time the next morning, with my warm cup of tea, I witnessed them asking questions. Big questions. Like the kind you ask in passing, only to yourself, because if you think about it too long, the confusion gets to you.
Four girls sat in a circle and discussed the meaning of the “don’t throw your pearls before swine” text.
One of them admitted that the idea that God has existed forever absolutely befuddled her.
Another talked about why it was so hard to be a Christian outside of church.
And another asked me if it was wrong, as a Christian, to doubt and have questions.
What joy I felt in being able to tell her that those questions make us stronger. Because I truly believe it, and that continues to make a difference for me.
For me, it’s in the seeking, the moments of pure curiosity and a thirst to understand and articulate my belief to others, that I am the most in tune with my faith. It does me no good to be lazy, but it’s easy for belief to become passive. I must find ways to keep it active.
I think questions do this, to an extent. I’ll never understand everything there is to know about God’s workings; if I did, he wouldn’t be God.
But the hunger to know keeps me searching. And it’s not that I should have faith once all of them are answered. It’s that the Lord will show himself through the process – a refining, of sorts.
I think this is one of the misconceptions of the church at large.
It’s likely that many people have the perception that church is for the rock-solid believer who is devoted to Christ and wants that community with other Christians. But I think it should also be for the people with big questions who just want to talk through some stuff. To speculate a bit and have a safe space to do so.
Do we make church that kind of environment? One that sees questions not as a threat or hindrance, but as a faith-enhancer?
Something to ponder for your rainy Sunday.