So I did what Oswald Chambers said: “Watch where God puts you into darkness, and when you are there, keep your mouth shut… listen, and God will give you a very precious message for someone else when you get into the light…” And he was right.
When hard questions jump up out of the blue, or off the black and white—in life or your Bible reading—what should you do? Shove them under the carpet? Pretend they don’t exist? Give them a platitude answer to try to shut them up? Or write them down, ask God, and watch and wait till answers come?
I have learned to choose the last. At times I’ve kept a special notebook of what I call UAQ‘s. Un-Answered Questions. Atop a page I write the question. Then I skip a few pages before recording the next “UAQ,” leaving room for notes from scripture, life experiences, and other sources that shed light on it.
The visible questions help keep me alert for any relevant information God might provide.
I do all that because it’s from the dark place of nagging questions that my deepest spiritual learnings emerge, where my faith and understanding really grow.
“Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness.” -Psa 112:4
Those answers don’t usually emerge fast. Some take weeks, or months. Some take years! But once in a while, I “happen” onto something that opens up a whole new understanding rather quickly.
Of late some unanswered questions have stuck hard enough in my mind that I’ve needed no reminder at the top of a page—especially since troubling scriptures (in Job) echo troubling life experiences and observations.
I’m elated to say that just a couple of days of being quiet, like Oswald Chambers says above, considering carefully what God has brought to my attention in His word and elsewhere, and voila! Light is already gleaming!
Not that I’ve got all of Job sorted out! There’s much in scripture beyond my feeble mind. But what I’m gaining is so helpful I hope to pass at least some of it on in future posts.
Meanwhile, I need more time drawn aside from blogging. (I’m still doing what Oswald Chambers said.) In this lull, you might like to visit Denise Hughes’s mini-series on Job here, or join in on the chronological Bible read-through she and a group of others are doing (details here).
The main lesson I’ve learned about hard questions is this: Don’t be afraid to ask them—because… 1) That’s only being honest to God. 2) How can we expect answers if we don’t ask for them? 3) In the process of waiting and watching, we gain more than answers: We grow in the strength of looking to God, experiencing more fully His words, and His ways, and eventually, His presence.