Often we have questions that seem insurmountable about things are so weighty that our head feels like exploding, but in hindsight the questions seemed irrelevant and trivial at best.
Take, for example, the question “What is the difference between kitchen pots and kitchen pans?”
One is supposedly a pot and the other is a pan. So, which is which? What, pray tell, is the difference?
According to Wonderopolis, a pot can correctly be called a pan, but a pan can’t correctly be called a pot. So if you ask a chef for a pan, you could get either a pot or a pan. However, if you ask for a pot and a chef hands you a pan, the chef would be wrong! Is this really worth pondering at length? And then there is the pot that can be used as a pan or is it a pan that can be used as a pot?
For a non-chef kind of cook (like me), my response (I am afraid to admit) would be “who really cares?” Isn’t that a tempest in a [tea]pot or pan? (Pardon the partial pun!)
But then there are other questions that are far more important, but even then we don’t always have an answer for difficult life questions that confront us.
- “What do I do for my career?”
- “Is this the right person for me to marry?”
- “Is my church feeding me from Scripture or is it merely giving me warm, cozy thoughts to contemplate?”
- “When I volunteer at the mission, am I doing it in service to my own ego or in service to my Lord?”
We can search counselors’ thoughts and life coaches’ theories but they fall short – well-meaning but insufficient.
We can turn to Scripture and read until our eyes are blurry but sometimes even then the answer eludes us.
Or, we can turn to prayer – and then commune with the One who loves us and who sent His Son to secure our salvation. This One does know the answer to even the hardest of questions, because He is sovereign. I Timothy 6:15-16. In fact, He knew the answer to the questions we were going to ask even before we were born! Psalm 139.
We still may not know the answer to the problem facing us, but if we know God as our Father who loves us and gave His son for our eternal life with Him, we can rest in His grace and sovereignty.
I married immediately after college graduation and then worked to put my husband through seminary. Eleven years and two children later, I began attending law school, not only because my husband said I should, but because I believed that the Lord was directing me to this career. After MUCH prayer, I applied, quite confident that I would be told that I was too old, I had two small children, and I was too stupid. I rather thought I would go through the motions and do everything I needed to do in application to the school and then God would close that door and I would be done with the “you should go to law school” comments from my husband and various co-workers.
When the phone call came advising me that I had secured the one open spot to begin school in two weeks, September 1980, I was stunned. I quit my job, and two weeks later found myself purchasing enormous books (none of which had pictures!). I was terrified but determined to do this because it was clear the Lord had directed me to this path.
Three months later, my husband told me our marriage was not worth working on and he left the apartment. Three months after that he left the church, the city and the state. I seriously began questioning whether I had misunderstood God’s plan. I could not believe that He would have me in school with two preschool children, no means of financial support, no family close by to assist.
The children and I moved to federal housing and I completed my education through tears and questions about how we were going to live. Needless to say, things were not easy for us and we did not have everything that our greedy little hearts ever wanted. But when I began to falter and fears overtook my heart, the Lord would send someone or something to encourage me and remind me that He is God and in control and He had us in His Hands. He did not give me answers, He gave me Himself and that was more than enough.
A quick glance at the First Century Christians belies the interpretation of Scripture that God will give us only good times in this world if we merely believe in Jesus. Simply put, Nero did not provide a good time for Christians! Nope, can’t find any “prosperity gospel” there! But, even during those horrific days, the Christians praised God and believed His promise of eternal life if they persevered and relied on Him.
Jesus says in Matthew 6:31-33:
“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Jesus here is not promising all the goodies that this world has to offer. No, He is telling his disciples that they should rest in God – seek first God and His righteousness … then everything else will fall in line according to God’s purpose.
The details of life may be messy and hard and we may not know the answer to our questions now. We may not understand the situation we are in, but we can remember that we are not God … we are temporal, mortal, dust. He is omniscient, omnipotent. He is not limited by time, indeed He created time for our benefit. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
“For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.”
Psalm 90:4 ESV
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.“
Hebrews 13:8 ESV
So, while we don’t know the answer to the questions we have, we do know the end result of our struggle is secured. God has given us Salvation through faith in Jesus Christ alone, and His Holy Spirit is our resident Counselor. Our everlasting life and our presence with Him is satisfaction of our only real need.
Crazy questions may abound in our world. But for the question that is the most important one of all, the question that transcends the here and now, the question that defeats mortality and the evil in this world, we can know the answer.
The all important question is — Where will you spend eternity?
For those in Christ, that answer is “With Him now and forever more.” Matthew 25:36-40 and John 6:37-40.
Praise His Holy Name!
Thank you Father for granting mercy and grace by sending Your Son to die the death that we deserve so that we can have eternal life with You. Thank You for providing the answer to the only question that needs to be asked. We praise Your holy name.