Summary: As a Christian, it is a good thing to question, to seek; the key is to ask good questions and seek out good sources for your answers; most notably, the Bible.
Wrestling with God, Genesis 32:22-31
Once a Hasidic teacher told this parable; a man had been wandering about in a forest for several days, unable to find the way out. Finally he saw a man approaching him in the distance. His heart was filled with joy. Now I shall surely find out which is the right way out of this forest, he thought to himself.
When they neared each other, he asked the man, “Brother, will you please tell me the way out of the forest? I have been wandering about in here for several days and I am unable to find my way out.” Said the other to him, “Brother, I do not know the way out either, for I, too, have been wandering about in here for many days. But this much I can tell you.
Do not go the way that I have gone, for I know that it is not the way. Now come, let us search for the way out together.” The teacher added, “So it is with us. The one thing that each one of us knows is that the way we have been going until now is not the way. Now come, let us join hands and look for the way together.”
We are living in the information age; there has probably never been a time in the history of all creation when more information what available to humanity than today and the amount of available information seems to multiply exponentially day in and day out. The world is overflowing with vast storehouses of information.
All a person needs to do is to turn on the television, the internet, or the radio to find out what happened five minutes ago in another part of the world or to read about ancient civilizations or find out about the latest NASA robot trip to Mars. The knowledge of humanity may be unparalleled by any other time in human history.
I am terribly afraid, though that our ability to assimilate all of this vast resource of information is not equal to the task. The old adage says, “How do you eat an elephant?” One bite at a time is the answer, but how do you eat an elephant one bite at time when its size doubles between each bite? In light of all of the information of this age, it is easy to become overwhelmed and lose heart.
In the midst of this seemingly endless flow of information stands the Christian who is bombarded from all sides with information which seems to conflict with his or her Christian worldview. Mainstream science tells us that evolution is fact and rules out any possibility of the reliability of the account of creation in Genesis.
Many of those in political power tell us that we are not to pray in school or in public. Those with radical social agendas tell us that the biblical understanding of family is inadequate and outdated. Then comes in my favorite, the preacher, who tells us that even in the face of such information we are not to question, only to believe, obey, and trust God.
While the admonishment to believe simply, obey completely, and trust God unreservedly does have great merit, there is more that should be said. This morning, the thesis, the theme of this message is that in light of the overwhelming amount of information that showers us, it is alright, acceptable, even a commendable thing to ask questions; the key for us as Christians is to ask good questions and to seek out good sources.
Just as Jacob wrestled with God and yet lived, so too we ought not to be afraid to wrestle with the difficult and pressing questions of our day and indeed, we too shall live in Christ and in the glory of His truth. God is not afraid of our questions. In fact, I would suggest to you that God is to be found in our questions.
Ask Good Questions
Like’s gospel records the account of Jesus meeting with Pontius Pilate just before His crucifixion, “Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered him, “Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” (John 18:33-38a NKJV)