Every day I receive questions from people somewhere in the world who are looking for answers to things that disturb them. Many of them are Bible questions from people who are reading or studying and just get stumped. The larger portion are things which have to do with their personal lives. Some of them are very simple and some are complex. There are even some which, for me, are unanswerable. It takes a lot of time to read and process these questions, but I am excited that people are seeking.
I believe that questions are the answer to much of what troubles us in life. People who do not question are typically people who do not seek. The Bible is not as difficult to understand as many believe. But, there are many things contained in it that are difficult. When explored, we most often find that the difficulty is because we were lacking in information in and around the subject. Once that is clarified, the answers usually come to light.
Seekers are a different breed. There is rarely a time when a question is not sitting in the very forefront of their minds. What makes it even more exciting is the fact that once you learn something in one area of the Scripture, it can often show that what you thought was right is brought into a different light. Because of that, more questions arise. It seems to be an endless, but exciting cycle.
There is no shame in not knowing the answer to a question. The shame is to never have a question. It is the question that provokes us to look harder and ponder that which God has left for us to see. Wise men were seeking Jesus because they had a question about a star. Who cares what the question is about as long as it prompts us to look closer? As a matter of fact, wise men still seek Him… even the saved.
The questions are not always about particular passages in the Bible. Sometimes, many times, they are about our response to some perceived truth which we find or that which is shared with us. It causes us to look at our lives and reconsider our way. The questions that arise in our lives may very well be about our response to God in the matter. What should I do? What should I say? How should I respond?
Often times, there are things that come up in our lives because of what a church teaches that seems to clash with things we already understand. We hear things that just do not seem to match up with what we already know about God. It could be that our understanding is incorrect, or it could be theirs. A seeker will try and find the truth in the matter. A non-seeker will accept any and everything which is presented.
There is a lot of confusion in religious matters. Because of the broad avenue of interpretation of Scripture, a world full of different ideas and beliefs arise. Many of them arise for the same reason Jesus used when He spoke to the Sadducees concerning the resurrection. “You do greatly err not knowing the Scripture.” Who among us can rightly say that we know all there is to know about the Scriptures? Which of us can say we have conquered the Bible and all that is contained within? And, if we have ever changed our mind on something we once believed, who is to say that there is not another issue which needs closer scrutiny? And, if there is still one thing wrong, who is to say that there may not be a hundred?
There are many who believe it is wrong to question anything in the Bible. They have been taught this behavior by teachers who are not seekers. There are a host of people out there teaching the Word of God from a well stocked supply of “canned” answers. It is not to say that some of them are not right, but if you put corn in a can and label it beans, it is still corn when it is opened. Canning up a few answers does not make them right. New understandings of old truths can often lead to different answers.
When seeking, there are a few things we must always remember. These things are critical to our understanding. First, we must always ask the three questions. What time is it? Who’s mail are we reading? What is going on? These three questions can often be the difference between understanding the context of an issue, which in turn, helps us more fully understand the issue at hand. These questions will, in turn, help us ask more accurate questions of that which we are pondering.
Secondly, a seeker should always find out as much about God as he or she possibly can. Once we find out His characteristics, like His creativity, His power, His omnipresence and the like, we then need to look deeper. We need to watch Him work, listening intently to find out about His character. In doing this we will begin to know him. I heard a wife say about her husband, “He will never go for that.” How does she know that? That’s a no brainer. She has spent so much time with him and seen his reaction to things over the years that she can almost predict what he will think and how he will respond to a given situation. So, the same is true with God. We have to get to know Him. We need to spend time with Him, watching, listening, probing, asking. In time, we will know how God would or will respond to a situation without a doubt. If I know Him I will know what He wants from me. I will know how He responds and what He would like, dislike or tolerate. Then, I would be able to measure that which I know from Scripture against the God I know and things will often come into a different light. Many of us swallow things taught about God that are just simply not so because we do not know Him. It is not that we do not know enough ABOUT Him, it is because we do not know HIM. Does that make sense?
And thirdly, the seeker must always confess the fact that he or she does not know it all. None of us should be so arrogant that we ever convince ourselves that we are God’s walking answer man to all the issues of life. The seeker knows that there are voids in his or her life. He knows that things have to be continually corrected. He knows that the term “Light unto my path” is a term about constant correction. No matter how accurately we chart our course, there are always currents and winds that move us away from it. There is always a need for constant correction.
Seeing God is a wonderful journey. If I were allowed to pray only one thing for the Body of Christ, my prayer would be that we would all be seekers. If I were allowed by God to only encourage in one area of life, I would encourage people to be seekers. Do you know why? Jesus gave the answer. “Seek and ye shall find.” It is as simple as that. Above all things remember that wise men still seek Him.