O God, Where Art Thou?

A question is a beautiful thing to waste.

Isn’t it wonderful to sit down with a friend who looks you in the eyes and warmly begins asking sincere questions about your life?

Have you ever noticed that great authors are insatiable question askers?

How do you rate at asking questions?

Does anybody really know what time it is?

Okay. You get the point. Or do you?

Mark Twain once said, “In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from others”

During a recent phone interview with a newspaper reporter from The Tennessean, I was posed an unscripted question. He asked, “How would you describe your faith?” I hesitated for a few moments, and blurted out, “I suppose I would describe it as questioning.” Of course, when the interview was printed in a very high profile feature, the first sentence of my interview highlighted my “questioning faith.”

I must admit, I have received quite a few concerned and well-meaning questions about my “questioning.”

As I grow older, I find myself exactly as Mark Twain described most religious and political people. Influenced by others that I now realize had not examined questions themselves but took them second-hand from others.

So I began asking questions about my beliefs and convictions. And I began asking God questions. Because I believe any God that can’t stand up to questioning isn’t much of a God at all.

I will never forget sitting in a men’s Bible study with four other guys, including my pastor, at 6 am in the morning (which should tell those of you who know how I detest mornings how very important I viewed this time) asking this question: “Have any of you guys ever doubted the reality of heaven?”

The other three guys shifted uncomfortably, looked at the pastor, there was a slight pause, and he said, “Actually, uh, no, I’ve never really doubted heaven.” As I sat there feeling like a fool, the conversation quickly shifted to another topic.

Reading the Bible, I realized that as a question asker, I was in pretty good company. Some of my favorites include:

“Am I my brother’s keeper?”
“If a man dies, will he ever live again?”
“If God is with us, why has all this happened to us?”
“Do you think it’s possible for any mere mortal to be sinless in God’s sight,  for anyone born of a human mother to get it all together?

I think it was Jesus (the son of God) who asked: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

And here are a few of my favorite questions that God asks in the Bible:

“Do you presume to tell me what I’m doing wrong?”
“Are you calling me a sinner so you can be a saint?”
“Do you have an arm like my arm?”
“Can you shout in thunder the way I can?”

So if you happen to talk to anyone that has been to heaven, have them give me a call. I need to ask them a few questions.

Am I the only one who asks questions laying on my pillow in the still of the night?

I apologize for all the questions, but here’s the last one today, what is one of your questions?

22 Responses to “O God, Where Art Thou?”

  1. As far as I’m concerned, non-questioning faith is worthless to God. If you have no questions, no doubts, you have no faith. Faith is belief in something. I don’t believe in my computer monitor – it’s just there in front me. Anyone can walk up and go “oh yeah, that’s a computer monitor alright!” and anyone who didn’t agree would clearly not be in their right mind. Faith what you have in something that you can never be empirically sure of.
    .-= Orual´s last blog ..Fear and Judgment: Why do we have a problem learning about other religions? =-.

  2. I am a question asker and I have been quite frank with God with questions like “How do I know You’re real?” Over the years, I have worked out understandings with God and have seen His faithfulness to me on a daily basis. We should not be afraid of the questions–Jesus told us to ask, seek, and knock.
    .-= patriciazell´s last blog ..#45 THE RETURN OF CHRIST: THE CAST, PART THREE =-.

  3. I love visiting with people who question and dig and probe. It helps to strengthen our faith to flex some mental muscles and really know what we believe…or what we’re struggling with. Personally, I think God appreciates the effort. In the end, I guess I could be simply justifying my own behavior. I question therefore I think it’s right to question. I love my Sunday School group – your question would have led to an hour-long discussion, no doubt about it. Come visit us sometime!
    .-= Fran´s last blog ..Cleaning carpets =-.

  4. My father-in-law has said “You need to beat God with a hammer, until either the hammer breaks or God.” Basically what you’re saying. They way I see it – Question everything, because the Truth will be found out.

    I am also learning to trust the Holy Spirit on ‘religious’ matters (well, everything actually) instead of what is ‘written’ by man. I am finding that I think and believe much differently about many things then I used to.

    Like Patricia pointed out, “ask, seek, and knock” God loves answering our questions.

    starfish poop – http://bit.ly/9dqqmB

    Man. I really enjoy your blog!
    .-= Rocco´s last blog ..The Prodigal… =-.

  5. Randy

    As a father of two wonderful and talented daughters, you remember back the different stages of their life’s like the terrible twos and their teenage years and you heard them asked the why and why not questions many times yet you never grew tried, because you love them so much. As much as you loved them how much more does God love us. At 47 I still question God on a daily and sometimes hourly bases, I am gald he never grows tired of me asking the why and why not questions. Keep asking… why and why not.

    Ted

  6. I wonder if it is possible to have no questions? Don’t we learn from asking questions? We are humans who want to know everything …. or am I the only one? I’m a curious person so I like to know everything. I don’t get the answer on everything that’s another thing. But here they say if you don’t ask you will never learn so I feel free to ask. I like to learn a lot about everything. My question before I knew God was already about heaven. My question was if my brother was in heaven but nobody could give me the answer.
    After my mum died I found God. All of a sudden I didn’t needed it to know if there was a heaven. If you ask me why, sorry I have not the answer to that. When my dad died the Lord showed me my dad was with Jesus. My question after that was if that was possible because my dad was a bad man his entire life. He did change though the last two years. My questions in the years after that were the “Why, Lord? Why me?” I don’t ask these questions anymore. I know now why I have to go through difficulties but than other questions come up. Last year I had bad experiences with people from the church it was devastating. And I did have my questions again: “Why Lord, are people like this? Why do they want to manipulate, hurt, control?” I know in my heart my God is not happy with this either. But I need to ask God this. I believe God can handle everything. He can handle my questioning. I’m free to ask Him everything. I don’t always get answers and if I get them they are not always what I expected or wanted. Still He loves and is there for me.

    With my friends, they always tell me their story and I tell them my story of the day or week. I’m pretty good in asking questions. Sometimes they like it and sometimes not because I challenge them to think further. I, myself have a few people who do the same to me. Thank God for people like that.

    To end this with a question: Do YOU like to be questioned? I mean you like to ask questions but do you also like it when they ask you questions? I would love to meet you and aks you questions. About everything really. Art, faith, life, your book, anything. It’s like you know everything, you don’t but I’m pretty sure you know more than me. It’s not going to happen but I would love to.

    Gosh, my reply is a bit long. sorry.

  7. What divine timing. I think for the first time, in a while at least, I asked myself this week “Am I who I say I am? Do I believe the God I claim? Would He claim me?” Horrifying questions at first. They literally kept me up the other night– if I had that faith I claimed, would I question at all? Ever? In that moment, the Lord reminded me of John the Baptist sitting in prison and sending his apostles back to Jesus to ask Him if John had the right guy after all or if he had spent his life at the service of a deception. I can’t tell you the peace that brought me. Because if the greatest man born of women, who walked and lived with Christ, had his own moment of “Wait… really?” then maybe I’m not crazy.

    On anoter note completely– this blog is my new favorite way to spend my lunch break!
    .-= Meredith Dunn´s last blog ..Home, Home on the Range =-.

  8. Questions are SO necessary! I love the Mark Twain quote at the beginning of your post. It’s so true. Navigating my way out of an inherited faith has been an adventure and a half. I have found it quite remarkable the number of people who feel threatened when you start to ask questions about faith and about God. Why do some people not want to think for themselves? Why do they need to make us “questioners” feel like heretics?
    .-= Michelle George´s last blog ..Redefining Beautiful – Book review and giveaway! =-.

  9. Questioning, whether with God or friends, often opens my mind to new possibilities and at the very least helps to embolden me to take a next step. Sometimes, it still leaves me wondering, but I’m always glad I asked or have been asked the questions…

    Thanks for asking!
    .-= Leo Gallant´s last blog ..Summertime Fun! =-.

  10. I am a question asker. I probe people not to be nosy but learn. Yesterday Grant Jenkins posted a verse on twitter. I after I read it my mind was full of questions and I wanted to know what he was thinking. What was God telling him? Why that verse and really?

    I seriously can drive some folks crazy. I love to learn. I’ll ask a mechanic 101 questions before he even gets to start work on my car.

    I was created to be inquisitive, so obviously, I am that way with the one who created me. Nice to know there are others out there. Inquisitives Anonymous. :)
    .-= Carol Asher´s last blog ..I’m inspired…. are you? =-.

  11. How are we to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” without asking questions?

    Just tonight my husband and I were talking through this season in ministry for us, and are wrestling with the tension between denying ourselves and taking up our cross and living life to the full and in abundance as Jesus mentions in John 10:10. Our question, “Lord, how do we do both at the same time?” “How do we get to that place of self denial, walking through a hard season, yet have joy and peace and fruitfulness?”

    These are just a couple of MANY questions! I am glad that God is big enough to hear them and wise enough to know when and how to answer them for us.

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