When you have more Questions than Answers

pexels-photo-356079.jpegA friend of mine often asks, “What do questions produce?” I always answer with “MORE questions!” And that is never, in his mind, the correct answer. To him, answers produce understanding. To me, if you answer one question, it brings ten (or more) questions to the forefront, each one vying for top position in my mind. Which one of the delicious questions will I ask first? And when I ask it invariably I get a whole new host of questions.

Sometimes our questions don’t always get answered. It isn’t that there are some unanswerable questions, I don’t believe that for a second. But the questions seem to go unanswered. These also bring more questions to mind. The first one is always, Why?

Why did this happen? Why didn’t that happen? Why isn’t this answered? Why did that get answered and not that?

Sometimes Jesus speaks to our hearts with such clarity and we know that we know it’s His voice and we know exactly what we’re supposed to do. And we’re ready to do it. But then nothing seems to happen for a time. And we’re left living in the waiting, living our life in the why.

Why isn’t anything happening? Why can’t I see Him? Why can’t I just do this? I’m ready but why aren’t they? Why isn’t He? 

How do you live in the waiting – the time between hearing His voice and seeing the fulfillment? How do you keep going when you think you heard wrong and life has stacked the deck against you? When the enemy whispers to you that you are wrong and all wrong? That God isn’t good and He didn’t say that –  that yet again you heard it all wrong, got it all wrong, are all wrong?  When your focus wanders and your hear wonders what the point of it all is really? When you want to quit? Where does your heart fin the hope to continue on –  to keep trusting, keep loving, keep walking in and with Jesus? Where do you find the desire to keep going?

Your prayers seem like lead balloons, you know He hears and you know He answers. You just can’t see it. You can’t see anything except what He told you and its disenchantment? You begin to wonder if you can trust Him at all.

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How do you live when Jesus is as silent as the empty grave? And you feel His silence as anger because you’ve screwed up yet again. You haven’t trusted enough, you haven’t done enough, haven’t been enough, haven’t been good enough.

When the next step feels fake and forced? When you want so desperately to believe again but you aren’t sure you can? Where do you go then? Where do you go when life has more questions than answers?

How do you keep looking to Him, knowing He meets needs, you’ve believed it, you’ve heard His voice whisper softly to your soul, you know He meets needs with more of Himself, but Himself seems so absent and the heart needs are piling up like unpaid and unpayable bills? And your heart feels like an unpaid bill with no bill collector will ever come to extract payment?

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When you so much want to just simply believe, but you just can’t – no matter how hard you try or how much you pray to the silent heavens and the God who inhabits them?

What do you do then? When you feel so small and alone? When that one friendship is on the rocks and you don’t believe anymore than it will get better, even though Jesus said, promised it would?

When you write out pages and pages of questions because the pages and pages of prayers haven’t been answered and you can’t bear the thought of praying them one more time?

When you know there is no one on earth with the answers – no one who can tell you what is really going on and why this happened? No one can and the God who can isn’t? What then?

When your heart is full of angst so you write and write and write until your hand cramps so you can’t read your handwriting and still you write on hoping for some answer to magically appear the page as an unthought idea?

When you want to live someone else’s life for a while because your’s is broken? But you just, just can’t?

When all you hear is the enemy’s whispered “Did God really say…?” questions and you aren’t sure of the answer anymore because it seems to have been forever and an age ago since you heard what He said. You wonder if your mind just made it all up to make you feel good and it’s all just a lie, a sham.

You wonder if Jesus really spoke at all.

Where do you go then?

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We’re all familiar with the story of King David and the 15-years he spent running from Saul. Fifteen years between being anointed as King of Israel and seeing that fulfilled. Fifteen years. To mention it even now seems a moth-eaten and musty answer. Everyone rushes to his story when they’re living stuck in the why and all the other questions. We know he had these questions, we know he struggled. We also know he knew where to go in the struggles and doubts. I am sure he struggled going there just as much as we do and chances are he often failed to do it immediately, just like we do.

But what does Jesus say? Does He turn us away with and in our doubts? No. Does He shun us in our pain? (Because let’s face it, living in the why and the waiting is a painful place to live.)

Oh, my dear reader, He does not. He remembers that we are simply dust,

For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust. Psalm 103:14 

No, in fact, in the face of all our doubts, struggles, and questions He says,

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30

Come. Come to Me all who are weary. Bring your doubts. Bring your questions. You’ll find rest. Keep trusting. Keep seeking. Keep asking.

If a God says to keep asking, you can know He won’t turn you away in your questions. He welcomes them, and even if, for a time, they seem to have no answers. He is faithful and the more you lean into Him, press your sad heart into Him the more He pours His oil of grace into those deeply hurting questions.  The enemy will still whisper his lies, he will still point out what looks like God’s unfaithfulness, but press into Him.

Lord, to whom shall we go? Only You have the words of life. John 6:68

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