“Why are we so scared to let people know we are Christians?”
“They might ask questions we don’t know the answers to.” #sundaydiscussiontime
That fear was never an issue for me. After all, I like hard questions. But maybe it should have been, because lately I keep getting this one recurring question to which I seem to be unable to give a satisfactory answer. I am losing people to this question–skeptics and young Christ followers alike. It follows me everywhere. I don’t like losing people. I take my responsibility as a representative of Christ seriously. (Another topic brought up in Sunday’s discussion was “How much do you have to hate someone to not tell them about Jesus?”) But the hardest part is this– I know the answers; they just aren’t enough for most.It’s times like this when it’s tempting to revert to telling people “…what their itching ears want to hear.” instead of truth.
What question? The question is “Why ___, ____, _____ when I prayed? He didn’t answer. Why?” The question is personal and emotional and complex. The answers from Job don’t satisfy. These people have never seen a Leviathon, and indirect Jesus’ parable like answers about mountain goats would only heighten frustration. Who are you to question God? “You are God’s critic, but do you have all the answers?” doesn’t help. Even my answer of “God uses our scars, our battles to help us help others.” doesn’t sooth the bleeding hearts. Their voices still echo as one: “Why?” Or, more specifically: “You really think I’d say that he hasn’t helped if I hadn’t asked? …I’ve asked for weeks and spent as much time as I can with him.” or “[G]od was not there when I needed him…” or “When I prayed it only got worse.”
The other answer is that it is sin’s fault not God’s. Our fault. He gave us free choice. Our choices and others’ choices effect us. God still loves us. The other other answer is that God isn’t a genie. And, of course, there is the end all: “Do not test the Lord your God.” But hey, Gideon got away with that, so did Thomas. (Yet “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”) He says “Ask and you will receive.”, but what about when you don’t? I know, God doesn’t always work on our time schedule. I know, sometimes He answers no. But they don’t get it, though I try to help them. In the end I am not the one who can change hearts.
I know that, but this still hurts. I care. These people matter to me. The things God allowed, the things that fill those blanks (“Why__?”) are not small. These are huge, tragic, unfair, life shaping events. And while “God works all things together for the good of those who love Him.” may be true it is not easy. So I pray for the right words, and I pray for the peoples’ souls. I pray for the blindness to be taken away. I pray for hope. I pray that they will seek and find truth. These are desperate, constant, pleading prayers. Prayers that acknowledge that I don’t have all the answers. But He does. He always will.