Having The Answers Is Not Essential To Living. What Is Essential Is…
Updated: Mar 27, 2019
…the sense of God’s presence during dark seasons of questioning. - Ravi Zacharias
Having the answers is not essential for living, but so often having the answers is precisely what we want. We may ask God why certain things have happened. Yet, having the answers is not essential, but what is essential is the sense of His presence during the inevitable dark seasons; when questions remain unanswered.
This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.
I remember as a young child, that my dad was deployed overseas for 13 months as a Captain in the United States Marine Corps. My younger brother and I didn’t have all the answers for his absence. But we had our mother and that was more important than having all the answers about dad.
Each night as mom put us to bed, she lowered the volume of the television, so we could fall asleep; and I became afraid. That’s because I had learned to associate the sound of the TV with her presence; and as the only parent home, I needed reassurance that she wasn’t going anywhere.
So, when I couldn’t hear the TV, I would call to her, “Momma, are you still there? I can’t hear the TV.” She would patiently answer “I turned it down, so you could sleep.” Then I would respond, “Could you turn it up, so I know you’re still there?” She would increase the volume, and I would easily fall asleep, with the comforting knowledge that she was near me.
So often we want to have answers in life, especially during times of suffering. God does give many answers in His Word, yet some remain hidden. While it’s nice to have answers, what is more important is that we have the assurance of His presence, which is infinitely better.
Perhaps, you may be going through a difficult time and have wanted to ask: “God, are you still there?”
Job and others in the Bible went through dark times. They had questions and wanted answers. Just like them, we may wonder why God has allowed something painful to happen to us.
Job 3:23 says, “Why is life given to a man whose way is hidden, whom God has hedged in?” (NIV)
Psalm 10:1 says, “O LORD, why do you stand so far away? Why do you hide when I am in trouble?” (NLT)
“Sir,” Gideon replied, “if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us?” (Judges 6:13 NLT)
Having questions is normal as long as we allow them to draw us closer to God and not create more distance.
Romans 11:33 says, “Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!” (NLT)Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “’My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the LORD. ‘And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.’” (NLT)
It’s hard to accept, but the truth is we will not have all the answers to our questions in this lifetime.
But, a lack of answers doesn’t mean God is absent or that He doesn’t care. Unanswered questions give us opportunities to trust and demonstrate faith in Him; without which it is impossible to please Him (Hebrews 11:6).
Having the answers to our questions is not essential for living, but what’s important is an unshakeable faith in the character of God in spite of difficult circumstances.
Dark seasons of questioning are inevitable, but they are only temporary. What’s necessary is that we sense His presence; because it’s there that we find His peace, comfort, joy and security.
Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (NIV)Deuteronomy 31:8 says, “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (NIV)Isaiah 63:9 says, “In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.” (NIV)“The LORD replied, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’” (Exodus 33:14 NIV)
What can we do? We can pray during times of questioning and suffering. In addition, there is no substitute for reading the Bible for encouragement. Also, we can look forward to the after-life, when as Christians will see and know all that is concealed from us now.
1 Corinthians 13:12 says, “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” (NLT)
What question would you like to have God answer?
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Additional resources about related subjects on this site:
Podcast: Why Aren’t My Prayers Answered?
Podcast: How should I pray when suffering?