Are Questions Allowed?

When questions swirl here

Float like hazy fog of morn

Will my heart trust love?

As I woke to a fog that covered everything in sight, I thought of the questions that faced me when this Rheumatoid Disease first struck.  And I thought of the questions raised this week when Jayber decided that Seminary was not for him, in 

Jayber Crow, by Wendell Berry.

This is week 2 of the study led by Michele Morin, over at her site: Living Our Days.  Michele has such a beautiful way of gleaning the lessons and stories from every book she shares. You are welcome to join us in the study at any point along the way!

When little Jayber was left an orphan for the second time, he found himself being raised at a very strict orphanage. Over the years of sitting through many Bible classes, when questions rose in his heart for his future, he fearfully chose the path that seemed most likely to please His Maker: he chose the path to be a Preacher and attend seminary.

When the inevitable happened:
How to deal with his unanswered questions?
How to face the seemingly harsh WILL of GOD?
How to lead people when he, himself, didn’t know the way?
Jayber brought the questions to the most learned professor there, hoping to hear something solid from him. But what he heard only reinforced the questions:
“‘You have been given questions to which you cannot be given answers. You will have to live them out—perhaps a little at a time.’
‘And how long is that going to take?’
‘I don’t know. As long as you live, perhaps.’
‘That could be a long time.’
‘I will tell you a further mystery,’ he said. ‘It may take longer.'”

Berry, Wendell. Jayber Crow: A Novel (Port William) (p. 54). Counterpoint. Kindle Edition. 

And I was taken back to so many times of questioning in my own life:
 
Why did we have to move cross-country, only to be pulled back home again?
Why did the small business we owned fail?
How could the bills mount so high when we had done everything that we thought was right?
Why did our children have to walk a road of suffering
when we, their parents, were the ones who needed to
learn the lessons?
How could God have allowed a church to break apart, and
relationships to be severed?
Why would years of healthy living suddenly
not make a difference when chronic illness struck?
I am sure you could add to the questions, if you were asked to participate. Sooner or later, we all will be faced with the “Great Unknowing.” And our FAITH will be put to the test. Can we bring those questions to Jesus?  Will He answer them?

Jesus knew that even His own disciples had questions, and this is how He answered them:

“Jesus replied, ‘You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.’”
Comforting?
Or was it one more way to say,
“You just don’t get it!”
. . . 
Jayber’s Professor held the key, in the few short words of his answer to Jayber’s questions: 
“You will have to live them out.”
We were meant for relationship. 
And relationships test our character,
prove the character
of the one we know.
Is our LORD able to be called upon
when we question HIS character?
Even David felt alone in his questions,
when he cried out to God:


“In my alarm I said, ‘I am cut off from your sight!’ Yet you heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help.”
He was there with David,
And He is here with us.
When the questions arise
When the doubts swirl
When the truth is put to the test
Is there ONE who will stand?
Can we look beyond the trials
And speak with Job,
even as he recounted the depth
of the darkness he faced:
 
“I know that my redeemer lives,
    and that in the end he will stand on the earth.”
Only as my heart 
begins to trust
Only as my love
is poured on HIM
Will my doubts 
be washed away
And filled with 
all HIS light
and truth.
May I pray with you today, my friend?
Dear Lord,
I ask for Your Spirit to be quickened in the hearts
of everyone who reads these words today.
May we all feel a freedom to offer
our questions to you.
May we know in our hearts
a surging of peace,
as You bring Yourself to us.
May we find the answers we seek
fully met in the LOVE of ONE
who holds the universe
and moves the stars,
the ONE 
who gave it all
for 
us.
Amen.




Next week, I will be sharing more about my friend’s newest book:
 It’s available for pre-order now!
I count it a great honor to have worked with Ifeoma in a small way to help in the editing process. You can find her blogging at Purposeful and Meaningful. Join me next Tuesday for a review of these words that God placed on her heart!



I am linking this week with:



 

16 thoughts on “Are Questions Allowed?

  1. The book you are reading sounds fabulous. I find questions to be good. When I cry out to God with my questions in the end the answer never really matters. The drawing near to him is all I need.

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  2. Beautiful as always, Bettie. Ah the questions that pour from us at times. This very morning in the middle of getting my husband's bag lunch ready I glanced at an email and was shocked to hear a brother in Christ had died of a massive heart attack last night. He and his wife, just our age, were eagerly preparing to go into missions, in the final stages of selling their home and traipsing about the country raising support. And now BAM! she is alone. They had no children and very little family…I heard my self burst out 'God, how could you let this happen?!' Then I busied myself with breakfast dishes reciting my week's memory work. “Good and upright is the Lord, therefore He instructs sinners in the way…All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness…” (Ps.25) Renewing my mind in truth as I prayed for this dear woman who faces life alone now, all in the Lords' good plan for His glory. Impossible to see from my perspective but God will be weaving it all for something glorious…. We cannot see ahead but we live out daily this faith we hold in a good God. Thanks for sharing your own journey here! –Linda Dawn

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  3. Bettie, the questions that you have asked are much more inscrutable than the ones Jayber was posing. I think, in the kind of environment where Jayber was being educated, if it was just the idea that he was questioning at all that was so counter-cultural. It's amazing to me how one book can stimulate so many different discussion points, but you and I were both captured by Professor Ardmire's words to Jayber. Life does seem to be a process of living the questions, and I have no doubt that the living out all the way to the answers will take more than a life time to accomplish. Blessings to you, friend.

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  4. Yes, Bettie, questions are allowed and should be encouraged. Just think of the debt we owe the Apostle we tend to call “Doubting Thomas”! if he hadn't asked the awkward questions we might never have come to a place where we recognise it isn't a lack but a stretching and strengthening of our faith to ask them. Our faith muscles grow as they are stretched way beyond the known, which covers more than we care to admit.
    Although none of likes to feel lost or unable to have complete certainty about things, there is definitely merit in living into the answers to come, hard as it might be sometimes. This book is drawing some great thoughts from you, dear friend. It sounds a wonderful one to add to my ever-growing Wish List! Blessings and hugs. xoxo

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  5. Dear Michele,
    Yes, I agree with you that in Jayber's environment, just approaching the idea of quesitoning was suspect. I wonder if sometimes we still exhibit that kind of atmosphere in our churches without realizing it? Oh may we learn to let Jesus live out the questions in us! I am so thankful that you are leading this great study, Michele. Your open heart encourages our hearts to be open as well! Blessings to you my friend! xo

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  6. Dear Linda, Ah, yes, “renewing my mind in truth as I pray” is so vital to open our hearts to hear and see God in the midst of our questions. I am so sorry for your loss, and for your dear friend who is left behind at such a time! What a treasure she has in your friendship. I will pray for both her and your comfort to bind your hearts together. Blessings and Peace for you my friend!

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  7. Dear Joy,
    Yes, I think you would appreciate this book. I am glad for Kindle, and the ease of reading without having to add another book to a bulging shelf! (Although I still enjoy “real” books too!)

    Ah, how I feel my faith muscles being stretched these days, “way beyond the known” as you said. Since we had traveled for years as my husband portrayed the Apostle Thomas in a one-man monologue, I thought I was pretty well versed in how to let the doubts rise to God. But HE knows how much deeper I need to be stretched and strengthened in that area, still! It's so good to hear your much-loved comments bringing encouragement here again, my friend! Hugs and Blessings to you too! xoxo

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  8. I am reading Jayber along with Michele, too, though I haven't blogged about it along the way. But I am gleaning so much more by reading others' thoughts about it. We all face unanswerable questions some times, and, as Michele said, in some cultures it's almost considered a sin to even have them. But I am so thankful God doesn't see it that way. Even though I don't have an answer to some of my own questions, I know Him well enough to trust Him about them.

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  9. Dear Barbara,
    Yes, aren't there some great discussion points over at Michele's site? When we all bring our thoughts to the table there, we help to encourage each other to keep looking more deeply at the words we read. Isn't that the way that Jesus helps us with our questions too? When we come honestly with those questions, and look more deeply at who He is, that is when He helps us to “know Him well enough to trust Him about them,” just as you said. Thank you for your beautiful comments here also! Blessings to you!

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