My day is consumed with questions. I guess that’s what happens when you get an 820 on your SAT. People just want you to share some of your knowledge. Or maybe not. But either way, I get a lot of questions.
Most of them are from my kids.
“What is gluten?”
“When are the Falcons going to win?”
As I’m sure you’ve already guessed by now, I don’t always have the answers. Most of the time I just say something like, “Just keep watching and you’ll see.” So, with the Falcons for example, my kids keep watching and see that Matt Ryan has trouble completing passes near the end of games and most of the guys on defense would rather be doing something else. Question answered.
And with gluten, well, I guess we’re all still trying to figure out exactly what gluten is.
A while back my seven-year-old came to me with a more complex question.
“Dad, I know that the Bible claims to be the word of God but how can we trust what the Bible says?”
I wasn’t expecting that one. So I answered the question like any father who also happens to be a highly respected pastor would answer it.
“Quiet, kid! The Falcons game is on. Now pass me the gluten.”
I pointed him to some of the evidence. We talked about the eyewitnesses and authors who willingly gave their lives for what they wrote and believed. And for Christmas, I bought him a book. It was really cool watching him go to bed at night and using his flashlight to read his new book, Case for Christ for Kids by Lee Strobel. It was even better talking to him about it the next morning.
He told me that the book answered his questions and helped him to understand that the Bible was God’s true word. His mind, his heart, and his faith were growing right before my eyes.
His growth isn’t happening because he has a dad who knows all of the answers. He doesn’t. But he does have a dad that points him in the right direction.
There was another question after church last Sunday. It was from a kid just a little younger than my son.
“How old is God?”
This time there was no Falcons game to rescue me. Again, I answered the question as best as I could.
Or something like that.
I explained to the boy about God always existing as God. I told him that God has no beginning or end. It was one of those answers that leaves you more in awe than merely more informed. I could see the awe on his face. It was on mine too. There was no specific number I could tell this little boy who wanted to know the age of the eternal God. All I could do was point him to the majesty and supremacy of the One who made him. He doesn’t have a pastor with all of the answers. Just one that knows how to point him in the right direction.
The next day there was another question from a guy in my church. A teenager. So of course, the question came in the form of a text message. He was asking what it means to obey Jesus. Some people at his school tell him that if a Christian forgets to floss his teeth, he’s automatically on the hell train. Others believe that simply praying a prayer is enough. He wanted to know the truth about following Jesus.
I get these kind of text messages from him a lot. I love them. They serve as evidence of his growth in Christ. So that day I pointed him to the book of James and showed him how obedience is always the result of genuine faith. He’ll have more questions. And I won’t always have every answer he’s looking for. But at least I can point him in the right direction.
A few years ago when my son was just learning how to walk, we were playing outside. He was overwhelmed by everything around him. Especially the airplanes that flew over. Whenever he heard one he would stop what he was doing and look up.
One day he heard an airplane so he stopped and looked to the sky. But he couldn’t find what he was looking for. The airplane was higher than he was looking.
I could have given him coordinates to help him with his search.
“Son, go to longitudinal point 34 and latitude quadrant 75. When you find x look three paces to the left and you’ll see the plane.”
Instead, I went with a more simplistic approach. I put both of my hands on his head and gently directed his eyes up to the point in the sky where the airplane was.
I pointed him in the right direction.
Being a parent, pastor or any kind of a leader can be intimidating. We need to have answers. Truth really does matter. But we will never have all of the answers for the inquiring people we lead.
And that’s okay.
Because we can still point them in the right direction.
Besides, what good is an answer if all we get out of it is a little information? The best answers leave us with more than that. They point us in the direction of the unfathomable God of the universe.
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. Romans 11:33-36 (ESV)