Have you ever had a question but were afraid to ask? One of the most significant personal discoveries within my faith journey happened while I was a student at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology.
When I first arrived at Emory to begin my seminary education, I was confident, maybe even cocky about my faith. I knew everything if you don’t believe me, just ask me! That sense of confidence was quickly challenged. Questions were being asked by students that I found objectionable, irreverent, and uncomfortable. And, the answers given by professors were troubling.
I had arrived at Emory as an unwavering fundamentalist, and as such, would have never asked a question like those being asked. I saw them as an attack on the “true Christian” faith. I tried to remain silent and keep to myself, but someone had to defend the faith, right? So, for almost a year, I sought to stand for the “true faith.” Reflecting back, I’m amazed at how patient my professors were with me.
One afternoon, while sitting in the Commons, one of my professors asked if she might join me. She said she had a question to ask. I reluctantly said yes; I didn’t particularly like her – in fact, I couldn’t stand her. “Sam,” she asked, “of what are you so afraid?” As we talked, I shared my concerns. I remember how patiently she listened. When I finished, she said, “Sam, God is too big to be placed in the box of our limited human reasoning. God is not afraid offended by our questions, in fact, God invites them.”
It wouldn’t happen immediately, but over time God would escape my box, and there would be no returning God to it. I was to discover the power of asking. “God is too big for our little box, and God can handle the big questions. The real issue is, can we dare to ask the questions?
It’s okay to ask tough questions and that’s a truth that can transform our lives!