“Now the Lord is spirit and where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom”
2 Corinthians 3:17
Have you ever been in an environment or situation where you felt your questions were not up to par or maybe even exposed your ignorance. I was in such a situation yesterday in a live Autism webinar. It was filled with educators, particularly adept in the field of special education. I am very interested in Autism for a variety of reason, but suffice it to say, my educational background and profession was unique in the group. It is a wonderful group whose goal is to help educators effectively teach children on the Autism spectrum. Through a case study presentation, the group serves as a think-tank to help with a specific challenge. As a life coach, I am an observer of patterns of behavior and obstacles that might prevent one from reaching their goals. I posed a question to the group. In that moment, I realized my uniqueness professionally and FELT ignorant. The question wasn’t ignorant or in appropriate, but I FELT different, even apologetic as it left my mouth. Ever felt that way in your spiritual journey? You are in good company. Even those closest to Jesus asked quesitons.
Thomas, often called ‘doubting Thomas’, was a questioner and often gets a negative reputation because he wasn’t afraid to speak up. Once, after Jesus had informed his close circle of followers of his death, Thomas asks, “Lord we do not know the where you are going. How can we know the way?” John 14:5. The seconded notable questioning from this transparent follower, is later after the resurrection where Thomas says, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nail and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” John 20:25. Both questions are negative, perhaps fear based, and expose Thomas, but he is not afraid to express them. I wonder if his fellow disciples shook their heads at him in condemnation? I wonder if he felt exposed, wishing he could withdraw his query?
Maybe what we should see is that Thomas’ relationship with Jesus was so comfortable that he could ask questions, expose his fears and doubts and still be accepted and not condemned by Jesus. Thomas did not care about his peer’s response. He wanted to know and that knowing changed his life and grew his relationship with his Lord. In both cases Jesus’ response was gentle and direct. In the second more famous questioning, Jesus loves Thomas so much that he made a point to remove all his doubt by allowing him to experience the very thing he needed to make his faith whole.
Where God’s spirit is, there is freedom, there is peace, there is love and acceptance.
God is big enough for our seemingly silly, revealing questions. Like Jesus who was was not put off by Thomas’ questioning, God is not put off by ours. Thomas was transparent and was martyred for his faithful preaching of the gospel in India and Greece. Apparently, he angered the religious authorities, perhaps because he questioned their practices, and they ran him through with a spear.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions that expose your fears or doubts? God will not condemn you, but will lovingly provide answers if you watch and listen.
If you are a listener, don’t be put off by questions from seekers. Some of the most dedicated followers of Jesus began with significant questioning and they helped change the world.