Saturday, October 30, 2010

Free to Not Have All the Answers

Looking at John 4, when Jesus encounters the Samaritan woman, I am struck by how Jesus didn’t take the simplest and most direct path in communicating to her.

While the whole chapter could have been greatly abbreviated by Him meeting her and simply telling her something like “I am the Messiah and here’s the proof. I know that you have had 5 husbands…”, instead He takes a more ambiguous path.

He starts out asking her for a drink of water. He then claims He can offer her “living water”. This is an ambiguous statement, proven by her following questions. This pattern continues. He keeps saying things to her that are less than direct. He purposefully says things to make her ask questions. He is inspiring her her think.

Where is God when we suffer? Where is God when we are in the valley? Where is He when we are on the mountain top? He reveals enough of Himself for us to ask the questions and to think but not enough to prevent us from seeking and knocking.

“Ask and it shall be given to you, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened to you” – Matthew 7:7

We seem to complain when presented with the closed doors and the open questions. But without them, we can neither seek or ask.

When we present Christ to the world, we often try to open the doors for them, giving them answers instead of questions.

But in John 4, we see just one of many, many examples found all over Scripture (look at God’s answer to Job in the whirlwind) where God doesn’t give us answers but questions. He presents closed doors so that we’ll have something to open.

If you’ve ever played hide n seek, you know that you spoil the game to have the seeker close their eyes and count to 100, only to open them and find you standing in front of them.

When a baby bird is born, it has to use its beak to peck away at the egg. The temptation for a compassionate human observer is to help it break away the egg. However, if we were to do such a thing, it would die. It builds up its strength by pecking away at the egg.

To be a witness does not consist in engaging in propaganda, nor even in
stirring people up, but in being a living mystery. It means to live in
such a way that one’s life would not make sense if God did not exist.
Cardinal Emmanuel Suhard
As Stanley Hauerwas writes,

What is crucial is not that Christians know the truth, but that they be the truth.
That truth is a living mystery, inspiring people to think, loving them to soften their hearts. We are free not to always have the answers but to be the question.

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