We all have questions.
“What am I doing with my life?”
“Why did my wife of 27 years leave me for another man?”
“Where was God when I needed Him most?”
And, most importantly, “Why did the Blazers draft Sam Bowie and Greg Oden, not Michael Jordan and Kevin Durant?”
Our questions demand answers. This is why we ask them. So often, though, answers remain as elusive as Sahara summer rain.
For the past seven weeks, I’ve been looking for a few answers of my own. On a basic, tangible level, I have gone to doctor after doctor, had blood drawn five different times, gotten brain and cervical spine MRIs, suffered through an EMG and a nerve conduction study, and been tested for everything under the sun. I’ve been suffering from weakness, numbness, shooting pain, and tingling in my limbs, and thus far no doctor or test has been able to find the cause. I’ve been unable to work for the past couple weeks. Right now, my wrists are aching from typing, and my fingers are numbly trying to find the right keys. My leg is burning from standing for twenty minutes before I sat down to write. Cue pity party music.
On a deeper level, though, this latest round of health issues has left me with other questions that may prove to be harder to answer. Questions like: Why do I have to go through a major health crisis almost every other year? Is there some lesson I’m supposed to be learning from all of this that I didn’t previously learn from tearing my Achilles, biting my tongue off, contracting Lyme Disease, or any of my five surgeries? Couldn’t God heal me if He wanted to, or at least point me to some answers and therefore some peace?
We have all been here, one way or another. We live in a world that, quite simply, doesn’t make sense. All our best attempts at figuring things out, whether through religion, philosophy, science, or some other well-intentioned avenue, leave us with gaps in our reasoning, things that can’t be explained, questions that remain unanswered.
That’s where faith comes in.
Simply put, faith means a belief in something that can’t be seen, can’t be proven. Faith means believing when questions remain unanswered. Faith means that you can have peace even when everything around you is in chaos, in turmoil, falling apart.
Faith, however, is easier said than done. These last seven weeks, and throughout almost every hard time in my life, I have let doubts creep in. What if God isn’t who He says He is? What if I have spent my life putting my faith in someone who will only let me down, or actually isn’t there at all?
Faith wouldn’t be faith if it were easy, if it were proven, if it were, well, undoubtable.
We spend our lives looking for answers, for proof. This pursuit is considered lofty, noble, wise. However, if those answers are never found, what happens then to the life that has staked its claim on finding them? If our faith is only based on proof, is it faith at all? Could it be that in the unanswered questions, genuine faith is born? Faith that doesn’t falter when things don’t go our way, when our health fails, our friends turn their backs, our loved ones die? It’s easy to have faith when the sun shines brightly. However, we need faith that perseveres in the middle of life’s inevitable storms.
We need big-picture faith, not blind faith. Faith that trusts that God is who He says He is and who He has been throughout the course of our lives, not who He seems to be through the tear-streaked lens of our current challenging circumstances? Faith that sees that the victory that has already been won, sees the impending end to sin, death, pain, and suffering, and sees the God who can’t wait for that day to come?
Answers aren’t a bad thing; far from it. I’m seeing another specialist in Seattle on Monday to hopefully get some of my own. Often, though, we get so caught up in our quest for answers that we forget that the very One we often question had questions of His own, as He hung on a cross despised. “Why have you forsaken Me?” He cried out to His Father.
Jesus is very familiar with our pain, our suffering. Our questions. He has walked a mile in our shoes with a cross on His back. He can’t wait for the day when we will know as we are known; when we will stand face to face with the Answer Himself, and know that all our questions were not in vain.