Nagging Questions: Why Do I Have Nagging Questions?
Nagging Questions: Why Do I Have Nagging Questions?
Nagging Questions: Why Do I Have Nagging Questions?
While working on the final teaching in our Nagging Questions series a nagging question arose: “Why do I have nagging questions?” The fact that I don’t have answers to many questions concerning God, the Faith, and Spirituality is rather annoying, it’s irritating. We have nagging questions when we don’t have satisfying answers.
I want to know, I want the puzzle solved, I want to figure it out. When a question arises I start reading the Scriptures, praying for revelation and wisdom, consulting commentaries, considering the traditional answers of the Church, conversing about the issue, coming to a well thought out conclusion. If your conclusions don’t match up with reality then something is off. If your understanding of scripture doesn’t match up with the reality of your experience then something is not right. That desire for a solution can result in quite a struggle.
In trying to harmonize experience with the testimony of scripture you can get into trouble. You can devise a theology, your thoughts about God that while they may make sense for one specific inquiry that answer doesn’t hold up over the entity of God’s written revelation to His Church. It is kind of like taking a verse of scripture, plucking it from its context, and then applying it to your life, only to wonder why what you expected, believed in, had faith for, didn’t happen. When one’s expectation isn’t realized by what you’ve taught it creates a nagging question.
One of my answers to why bad things happened to good people, and a companion question, why is there such evil in the world; is that God is not in control, rather God is in charge. I think my reasons are pretty sound. Control means everything that happens is the way I want it. In charge means, I am the responsible party for getting done what I want. I’ve used the example of the CEO who is in charge of the company. The CEO has a goal, makes decisions, creates policy influences employee behavior, can hire and fire, you can call hiring and firing an intervention, but the CEO doesn’t control because employees have free will. Some of my colleagues tell me that such a statement is heretical, that such a conclusion is not in keeping with our Biblical revelation.
Another conclusion I have reached has caused colleagues to question my sanity is that there is no future. We live in the now, God exists in the now. We can’t know the future because we are creating the future with the choices we make right now. Because of free will, though God knows all our possible responses, He has not predetermined what those responses will be. In the now we are co-creators with God of the future which does not yet exist. I have a few educated friends that tell me that this is false teaching, an inadequate understanding of the sovereignty of God.
I still like my most likely wrong answers to my nagging questions. For argument sake, let’s assume they are wrong; that such understandings about God and the future are heretical, that they are not orthodox. Why would I leave the safe confines of the ancient Hebrew faith and the teachings of the Church and strike out on my own? It is because of egoism, it because I demand an answer to my nagging questions, even if it’s wrong. My answer may be wrong, but I’m sticking with it, because its mine, it makes sense to me.
The wise teacher tells us in Proverbs 25:2
Proverbs 25:2 (NKJV)
It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter.
Human’s by nature like to figure things out. My egoism hasn’t convinced me that I am a king, so that’s why I like the Message paraphrase of this proverb: “God delights in concealing things; scientists delight in discovering things.” Being a scientist sounds a little more humble than being a king. Of course, that humility disregards Revelation 1:6 and 5:10
Revelation 1:5-6; Rev 5:9-10 (NKJV)
“To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever.” “You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth."
Anyway, I like figuring things out because when I figure things out then I convince myself that I control things. If I can figure God out, if I can figure out why things happen the way they happen, maybe I can control what’s going to happen or at least understand why what is occurring occurs. Ultimately figuring things out is for my benefit. Maybe the reason that I want to figure things out is to convince myself that I am learned, and wise and, smart, and enlightened. I find a sense of security in the notion that if I know I can control.
Remember what we are talking about are those nagging questions. Nagging questions start with “Why” and sometimes “How.” Nagging questions occur when Me, Myself, and I can’t figure “Why” or “How” out. There is nothing wrong with study; there is nothing wrong with gaining knowledge. There is nothing wrong with asking questions, challenging the establishment, having a mind of your own, and seeking out answers to perplexing problems. Be encouraged to wrestle with questions and issues and conundrums. A nagging question demands an answer from you, a solution, a reasonable explanation.
The danger of a nagging question is it can drive you crazy, diverting you from doing something productive in the faith while consuming a lot of time trying to explain the inexplicable. The danger of a nagging question is that the conclusion you arrive at is the type of heretical answer that damages your ability to keep in step with the Holy Spirit. The greatest danger of a nagging question is that your answer, or lack of an answer, brings you to the place where you no longer believe.
The scripture gives us a guide for dealing with nagging questions. Some questions can be answered, some cannot. It’s the ones that cannot that the scripture helps us.
Psalms 131:1-3 (NIV)
My heart is not proud, O Lord,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
2 But I have stilled and quieted my soul;
like a weaned child with its mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
3 O Israel, put your hope in the Lord
both now and forevermore.
The first verse points to the underlying problem of nagging questions. The underlying problem is not the desire for an answer, nor the complexity of the question, neither the work that may be necessary to devise an answer. The problem is egoism. When you are dealing with a nagging question you have to ask yourself is this issue over my paygrade? Is it a matter to great for me to figure out? Ouch, that’s a smack to your egoism. Our default thinking is that we are all that and a bag of chips, totally capable of figuring things out, most often without reading the instructions. The first thing to accomplish is to decide if your search for an answer to your nagging question is a matter of pride and arrogance or a matter that God has concealed and has decided not to reveal.
The second verse points to what we need to do with nagging questions. “But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother…” You’ve heard the expression “let go, and let God.” There is a time when we have to conclude that we will most likely not discover a satisfying answer to our nagging question and decide to be content with no answer. That’s hard. If you have ever dealt with breaking your kid from the breast or the bottle you know it can be a battle. Eventually, they mature to the point when they are weaned and no longer demand to be breast or bottle-fed. Putting a nagging question to rest involves growing up spiritually. It involves acceptance of suffering, a loss, a misfortune, a heart’s desire not met. It involves trusting God, simply because God is God and you are not. God will supply the grace, the desire to be, the power to do, to accomplish stilling and quieting a nagging question.
The third verse points us to faith. “O Israel, put your hope in the Lord…” This speaks of a mindset, an attitude, a humility, that determines that even if I do not understand, I will trust that God will never leave me, or forsake me. In that confidence, you will be comforted. The apostle Paul, a man who was well acquainted with life circumstances that can result in nagging questions, wrote to Christians in Rome these words:
Romans 8:18 (NIV)
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
Paul wrote to the believers in Corinth:
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (MSG)
These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There's far more here than meets the eye.
By exercising faith, we give up fighting for an answer, trusting that even without knowing, God does and that God will not disappoint us at the End of Days.
Our nagging question today is “Why do I have nagging questions?” When we cannot devise a satisfying answer to our “Why” and “How” questions, egoism can trick us into a wrestling match with God for the answer. Our Pride convinces us that we deserve an answer and are smart enough to figure out the answer. Some of the happenings in life are inexplicable. We can go off on heretical tangents, we can give up on the faith or we can still and quiet our mind. Stilling and quieting
by faith through grace is your best option. You will find comfort in the love of God, even when you don’t know, you can put your nagging question to rest because God has got it covered.
There is nothing like experiencing the love of God for yourself. The only way you can see for yourself is to acknowledge that you do not know God’s love, believe that Jesus reveals God’s love, commit yourself to loving like Jesus, and ask God to draw you into His love. You can do that today simply by asking God to help you walk through the open door He wishes to welcome you through. Is that the desire of your heart today? Why wait? Seek God while He may be found, He’s been seeking for you a long time. If you are doing that right now, please let me know, I want to help you get settled in your new life in Christ.
Friends we don’t have to live with nagging questions. We can trust God for everything we do not know. Put that nagging question to rest with the sure hope that everything will be alright in Christ.