Questions

In any Christian’s life, questions will arise. Asking questions can be scary. Often these questions are complex with no easy to understand answer. In some Christian circles, the asking of questions is even frowned upon because of the tension and doubt that often accompanies such questions.

Questions are not a bad thing though. Questions are a major part of learning and growing. As young children we learned a great deal simply by asking questions of our parents, teachers, and others. In school, teachers generally encourage questions relating to course material. Having childlike faith doesn’t mean you don’t question. Children are naturally curious and ask questions. People in the Bible had questions so it is no surprise that modern day followers of Christ do too.

When we ask questions about faith related issues however, we must remember that we may not always get the answer we want to hear. Sometimes we may not get any answer at all (at least in this life). As a young child sometimes asks his or her parents a question that he or she cannot fully understand the answer to, so we may ask questions of our Father in Heaven that we cannot fully understand the answers to. Many young children eventually ask their parents a question somewhere along the lines of “where do babies come from.” Most parents are going to give a simple answer such as “from mommy’s tummy” rather than going into the details of how sex works and how a baby forms in the womb. Young children do not need to know those details nor can they fully comprehend them. The same is true for us when we ask our Heavenly Father certain questions. Some things are not meant for us to know or understand right now.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)

In those moments when no simple answer is to be found, as in every moment, we must trust in God. His knowledge and understanding surpass our wildest imagination. There are some questions we may not fully understand the answers to, but we can trust that our Father knows what we can or cannot understand at any given moment and that He will work all things for our good.

The Cost of Following Jesus

“Are you willing to pay the cost?”

I roll the words over in my head.

What cost? Jesus paid the price of my sin. I am free. The price was paid.

Still I hear “Are you willing to pay the cost?”

What cost? I’ve heard the stories. I’ve prayed some prayers. I’ve gone to church. I’ve abstained from sex and drugs. I’ve tried to not curse. I’ve given my 10%. I’ve read the Bible. I’ve done these things that Christians should do.

“Are you willing to pay the cost of following me? Yes, outwardly, you have appeared eager. You’ve honored me with your lips saying you desire to follow me. But have you truly considered the cost of discipleship? What builder would start building without first counting up the costs? If he simply starts building without considering the costs, he may only lay the foundation before running out of funds.”

But still I ask, what is there left to pay? My sins were washed away.

He answers, “Yes, you sins are paid for but there is still the cost of following me. The cost is great, my child. Discipleship will cost your pride, your will, your worry, your worldly desires, and your life. And in addition to that, you will face rejection, snide remarks, sometimes loneliness, even possibly persecution. There will be trouble in this world. The road will not be easy and you will face trials. You will feel discouraged sometimes. You will have to place your trust solely in me and not in this world. You don’t have to fear because I have overcome the world but you have to trust me. I will guide you but you have to let me. You have to let me be God over your entire life; its duration and all that is in it.”

Before I even know what I am saying, my lips blurt out “But Lord, I know you are better than all things I could desire in this world. I’m never alone when I have You. Surely everything will be fine. I just want to follow You. You alone offer me eternal life.” It’s almost as if I had rehearsed this line over and over again just for this moment. I’m so quick to say it. I’ve been conditioned to say it.

He replies “You say these things with your lips. But remember you can’t fool me. I see your heart. You still cling to your reputation, your pride, and your desires. You want to fit in when I made you to stand out for me. Your knuckles are white from holding on so tightly to things that are fading away faster than you realize. You can talk, but in order to follow me, you also have to work. This is not a one time decision. It is a process that will last the rest of your life. I love you, dear one. I am with you and want you to draw nearer to me. I will not force you to though.”

A tear starts to roll down my cheek.

Am I ready to pay the cost? My lips say yes quickly. But talk is cheap. My heart however, wants to ponder the cost a while longer. And time is running out.

“If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it”

God is faithful. God never leaves us. God helps us get through the tough stuff in life. I’ve known this for a while but the past couple weeks have been strong reminders of these facts.

It all started about two weeks ago. We had to put one of my cats down. (I know he was just a cat but after basically spending as long as I can remember with him, it was a very sad day). That was also the last week of classes and therefore quite hectic. Then towards the end of that week, we got a call saying that my mormor (grandma) was deteriorating fast. The doctor said that she may only have hours or possibly days left. Although she had been suffering and battling poor health for a long time now, those were still hard words to swallow. We spent a fair amount of our Friday and Saturday by her side even though she basically just slept. (She was under the influence of pain medications). She finally died in the early hours of the morning last Sunday. Needless to say, I did not get much sleep that weekend nor did I get much studying done. This past week was the dreaded finals week. I started studying for both of my Monday exams on Monday. Not the ideal situation but that’s what happened. Although all my grades probably won’t be back until next week, I learned today that I got an A on at least one of them. I also saw good final course grades in several of my other classes already posted.  God got me through those finals and the stress and the sleep deprivation. There is no other explanation. I firmly believe that He has been helping me with all the college stress since the beginning. I may not know what I want to do after college, but I know that I can and should trust Him. Today (Friday) was the funeral and it was tough. I pretty much lost it towards the end and started bawling. I was extremely close to my mormor. I miss her terribly. I am of course thankful that she is at rest and that she is reunited with my grandpa after 25 years of being separated by death. Selfishly though, I miss her. God has been helping all of us through this though. One of my high school friends went through the effort to travel back to our hometown from her dad’s house quite a distance away just to be with me. She went to the wake and funeral even though she never knew my mormor. God has seriously blessed me with an amazing friend. My other friends (real life and Twitter) have been understanding as well. You guys are God-sent. Our pastor has been really supportive and helpful too. I know that is part of his job but he has gone above and beyond. He’s even accompanying us to the cemetery next week (which is over two hours away).

These weeks have been crazy weeks but God has seen me through. As never before I see the truth behind the saying “If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.” The crazy thing is, my prayers have been far and few between this past week. I feel bad about it but I have also been reminded of something very important. God knows our needs better than we do. We don’t have to beg Him for things, He knows what we need. Even though my prayers were short and few, He was faithful to me all week. And He will continue to be faithful. This I know.