I was sitting in one of my English classes my senior year of college, when my professor said something I’ll never forget. It may have been the fact that I had a little bit of a crush (for some odd reason) on this nerdy, red-headed professor, but I like to think that there was something more profound going on. He said that English is all about asking questions. Math is obviously about getting answers. Science asks questions about the physical world, but it gets set answers too. English, like Philosophy or Theology, is all about asking questions.Literature asks questions; it doesn’t give you answers.
I’m a writer. I ask questions. I can’t help but ask questions, it’s just ingrained in me. I don’t know why, but for some reason the questions we ask sometimes seem more powerful than the answers. They rise up in my brain out of nowhere, usually not even completely formulated, but their very presence can completely paralyze me.
Here’s an example: when I was 20, I came to a place in my faith where I began to really question my motives. I was completely encompassed in opportunities to serve, but I began to really question why I was doing the things I was doing. I began to ask: What if I’m doing this only because I ‘should’ be doing it? Wouldn’t it be better for me not to do this, than just to be doing it because I feel obligated to? Or what if I’m actually doing it because I’m trying to prove something to other people or to God? I mean, what if God is calling you to be obedient, but you’re just being obedient because you ‘should’ be, not because you really have a desire to serve the people you’re serving? Which some how led to, what if I don’t really love anybody? How do you know if you really love somebody?
This kind of thing is enough to make my brain explode and blood start pouring out of my nose. But, for some reason, I am mentally unable to let something like this go. I have to figure out some way to sort through it, and find an answer to the questions I’m asking. If I’m not wrestling with the question, than I’m not moving forward – I’m either staying where I’m at or backsliding.
So, for that specific example, I spent a month serving as a lifeguard at a junior high camp and I was completely blessed with a woman who was on staff there. She talked me through all the crap in my head, to help me figure out what I was even really asking. After that, it was just a matter of God moving in my life and meeting me where I was at. He did meet me where I was, and really taught me the meaning of grace and being redeemed by His blood. Jesus meets us where we’re at, no matter what issues or questions or hang-ups we have. His grace is absolutely sufficient for our weaknesses. No matter what I did, or didn’t do, Jesus’ grace and love covers it. At the end of the day, I gained a newer, stronger sense of freedom in my faith that was so worth the fight it had taken to get there.
I’ve been stuck in my faith for a long time, and I haven’t exactly been sure why. I think this time around I’ve just been asking, ‘Can I trust God?’. It’s such a simple question, but I think it’s something I’ve really struggled with. Can I trust God? Can I trust Christians? Can I trust myself to hear God and His will for my life? I’m looking forward to seeing God wrestle this one out with me. I can’t wait to see Him work, and I know He will. The God I believe in, is loving and faithful and good. He lets us honestly come to Him with these questions. He takes us by the hand and answers them in a way we really can understand. And then, at least in my experience, comes the growth we’ve been fighting for.
Here’s a picture from camp that year. I’m pondering my delicious smore with some of the amazing girls.