Where is God right now?
How do I square suffering with my belief that God is good?
Will the suffering ever end? Will anything good come out of this bad situation?
Why is there no one in my faith community willing to talk about these challenging things I’m experiencing? Why are people so quick to try to sweep my feelings and experiences under the rug?
In seasons of discouragement, internal questions like these can be dizzying and frightening. But what if asking questions—diving right into the challenging subjects that we are tempted to avoid—can be a healing practice in our faith journeys?
If we believe that, as Jesus says, truth sets us free, questions are not the enemy (John 8:32). On the contrary, questions invite us to know God more deeply. Questions invite us into conversation with God…and that is always a fruitful endeavor because, as Christians, we believe God is a loving parent—a God unfazed by (and perhaps even delighting in) the questions of God’s beloved children.
But in our culture of certainty, questions can seem threatening and unnatural. By contrast, Jesus spent much of his ministry asking questions and challenging assumptions. The sheer volume of these questioning instances in the Gospels should encourage us: if we are to be formed in the image of Christ (Romans 8:29), might we sometimes be formed by asking questions?
Consider Gethsemane, where, in the moments leading to the crucifixion, Jesus asked questions. He spoke to God in no uncertain terms about what he wanted and asked if there was an alternative to what was to come. And if Jesus can speak that candidly with God, might we also be able to? Might we take comfort in the promise that our prayers are heard by one who knows human suffering intimately (Hebrews 4:14-16)? If nothing in all of creation can separate us from God’s love, how could questions cause God to forsake us (Romans 8:38-39)?
On our question-asking journeys, we are not alone because we have Jesus, and we are also not alone for another reason. God invites us to live in community, and since questions can be so intense, it’s always wise to have a wonderful team around you. Consider today who might be safe people to walk with as you ask your questions—therapists, loved ones, trusted clergy members, etc.
- Who can hold space for your feelings and experiences?
- Who can be there even when the questions reveal hard things or challenge assumptions?
- What people in your life connect you to the heart of God’s love—by their very presence?
Questions like these can help you find the people to go to when the burden of questions becomes heavy—in seasons of discouragement and beyond.
Today, if you are experiencing discouragement and an onslaught of questions, know this: while we may never have certain answers to some questions, we do have the certainty of God’s love—shown in Jesus and the community he surrounds us with. We are not alone, and we know that suffering will never have the last word (Revelation 21:1-5).
So rest in the love of Jesus, our fully-God-and-fully-human Savior. And in that resting, I invite you to, as a spiritual practice, follow the questions deep inside you, knowing that those questions can only further your understanding of the great, mysterious, loving Creator that is our God.
Kandi Zeller (She/Her) is a writer and editor at the intersections of spirituality, creativity, and justice. She is also discerning a call to become a spiritual director, with an emphasis on interfaith and trauma-informed spiritual care. To learn more about her work, you can find her on Instagram (@kandi.zeller) and at All The Threads, her weekly Substack newsletter.