Answers to our questions
Recently in confirmation, we had our annual “ask a pastor” night. This is an evening that puts our Biblical, spiritual, and pastoral knowledge to the test as the kids ask any burning question on their minds. I sat in a stool at the front of the classroom like a game show contestant, looking into the sea of eager 13-year-old faces. Some of the questions were a little silly. “Did unicorns make it onto Noah’s Ark?” And others were very serious. “How do we believe in science and religion?” I was surprised at how many questions the kids had about being a pastor. It seemed this was their opportunity to learn the inner workings. They asked about why we wanted to be pastors, and how ordinations worked, what the best and most difficult parts of being a pastor are. It was a really enriching experience, to sit front row to their curiosity and joyful banter.
It got me thinking about how we as humans often want someone to have all the answers. While I don’t have all of the answers to life’s burning questions, for that evening, I could speak confidently about unicorns on Noah’s Ark. Often in life, we wish there was someone we could go to who has all the answers, and is actually willing to talk about them. We ask questions in our hearts and minds, shaking some sort of cosmic Magic 8 ball, hoping that an answer will emerge. I think many of us wish we could put God on a stool in front of a room, have an “ask the Lord” night. It would be a place where no question is off limits and where we get tangible answers straight from the source. Our questions might even range from the silly to the serious, “why are there so many wars?” to the deeply personal, “why did my husband die so young?”
Unfortunately, we don’t experience such clear cut Q&A sessions with our creator. God oftentimes brings answers to our questions in ways that are long, winding, and messy. God brings answers to our questions through people we encounter and situations we experience. Our questions aren’t answered on our own timeline, according to our curated schedules. Answers come on God’s timeline, frustrating because we aren’t in control, and yet beautiful because it isn’t up to us. God doesn’t sit on a stool taking questions from the audience, but instead, journeys next to us, pointing out the answers on the way.
-Amy Diller, pastor in residency