Summary: Questions are part of daily life. Some questions have black-and-white answers, others are in the shades of gray. Some questions have no answers. How we ask God questions is a reflection of our attitude towards Him.

Difficult Questions, Unexpected Answers

Matthew 22:15-22


People, by nature, are inquisitive. There are many unanswered dilemmas that we want to know the outcome. We want answers. We want them now! But we want them to meet our expectations. Look at how we view the upcoming election. We may ask the question, “Who will be the next president?” Many of us may already have a pre-determined way that we feel that question should be answered. We want our own candidate elected and may be disappointed if the answer doesn’t match our expectations. We want answers. But, we don’t want answers contrary to our views. We want answers that match our preconceived notions.

Questions are not always easy. Where some questions may have simple to understand black-and-white answers, many more have answers in the shades of gray. The simplest of questions often have hidden complexities that may not always be apparent.

Difficult questions often have difficult answers. In the Gospel message that I read a moment ago, Jesus was challenged with an interesting dilemma. The Pharisees and the Herodians tried to catch Jesus in a word of treason against either the Roman Empire, or the Jewish people. They hoped that He would take one of two sides therefore placing Himself on the bad side of someone. On the one hand, He could speak out against the paying of taxes which would amount to an act of treason against Rome and likely result in His execution. On the other hand, He could support the paying of taxes and put him on the bad side of the Jewish separatists and thereby classify Himself as a traitor to the Jewish people. Either way, His answer would take Him out of their hair. This unlikely pairing of the Pharisees and the Herodians was to unite these rivals so that they could both address the “Jesus Question.” All He had to do was say that paying taxes was either good, or bad. They were looking for a simple answer to a difficult question. Instead, Jesus showed them the face on the coin and let them answer their own question. What a way to provide an answer.

Often, we have our own difficult questions. We look to God for answers, and sometimes we don’t hear what we’re expecting. Sometimes, we’re not ready for the answer. Other times, we might receive the answer, but we don’t like the result. But, the most destructive questions are those that really don’t have an answer. Tonight, I’d like to look at how we question God and how we relate to the answers we receive.

Sometimes, we’re not yet ready to bear the answer.

Sometimes, our questions have no desirable answers.

Sometimes, we just don’t like the answers we receive.

Answers We’re Not Ready to Hear

Children are great examples of people not ready to know all the answers. They’re often the most interested in learning more, and they ask some of the toughest questions too. Toddlers are known to ask why, why, why to the point that others around them finally give up and answer, “just because.”

Why is the sky blue.

Because the sky reflects light from the oceans.

Why is it blue though.

I don’t know, maybe the water is blue.

But some water is green, why isn’t the sky green.

I guess there’s more blue water than green.

But I never see a green sky, why isn’t the sky green some times. Why is it always blue.

I don’t know. Just because.

What sounds like such simple questions from a young mind have the tendency to turn into debates on why physics validates electron –hole theory, how gravity affects planetary rotation, or how our senses interact with a physical world. There’s no way we can have all the answers or understand all the issues that impact even the simple questions. I don’t know why the sky is blue instead of green.

In the end, it really doesn’t satisfy their inquisitive minds. They want to know more, and as they find out more, they want to know more than that. They question everything around them and challenge almost every assumption. This is a good thing for young minds, but they’re not ready to know everything.

Are children of every age ready to discuss the implications of living together before marriage? How about a three year old debating the usefulness of the death penalty or a pre-teen arguing over the requirements of a standing military in a nation at peace? Or how about discussing how a five year old girl can use sex to her benefit in a corporate environment? These questions are inappropriate for many adults, let alone children.

Just like children are not always ready to hear the answers to some of the simplest questions, we too are children in God’s eyes. We’re not necessarily ready for all of the answers to all of our questions. Sometimes, we need to trust that God will provide the answers when the time is right.

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