If you read my last post, you know that I challenged you to write out some of your beliefs about life, faith, Christmas or whatever you wanted. How did that go? Was it easy? Difficult? Surprising?
For me, this time was a tad bit easier than last time. I don't know if it was because I had just graduated from college and felt brain-dead, not to mention, overwhelmed by an extremely busy time in my life but who knows. Whatever the reason, I think it's perfectly normal go to through times where questioning is better than answering. Maybe this time was easier because I had become aware that my beliefs weren't as concrete as I thought or maybe it was easier, because I've experienced and learned more since.
It makes me think of Dorey and Susan on Miracle on 34th Street. At first they didn't believe in the "magic" of Christmas, but as time went on, their disbelief turned into belief. It took time for their doubts to be erased about that old man with rosey cheeks, button nose, and a big, round belly.
It also makes me think of Mary. In the Gospel of Luke, chapter 1, we read about when Mary discovers that she is to be the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The angel, Gabriel, comes to her and tells her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” (v.28)
What a greeting! I think it would definitely catch someone's attention.
Gabriel continued to tell her the shocking news. “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” (v.31-33)
Guess how Mary replied.
She didn't shout, "Great! I can't wait!"
She didn't hide or run away. [I think I might have!]
She didn't quietly say, "That's not possible."
Instead, she asked, "How can this be since I am a virgin?" (v.34)
I'd say that's a pretty good question.
While she could have brought the conversation to a screeching halt, she encouraged it. Instead of making a statement, she asked a question.
I think that's important. I think we can rest assured that asking questions is vital for growth.
I remember in school, I was always afraid to ask questions. I felt like questions were frowned upon, in many cases. When it comes to questions about life, faith, and all thing important things, I think questions are the seed of learning.
When Mary asked that simple question, Gabriel didn't shut down and not answer her, but in return, He gave her an explanation for her question...
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God." (v. 35)
He gave her a legitimate answer, when he could have said, "Just believe what I say, Mary."
Not to mention, he didn't stop with an answer, he followed with an example.
"And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. For nothing will be impossible with God.” (v. 36-37)
He gave her something she could relate to.
What started out as a proclamation from an angel, continued all because of a question. When we are confused about something, we can't expect an explanation without speaking up. It's amazing how asking questions can bring about answers. However, there are many times when we may not be able to get an answer, but that is when trust and faith come in. It wouldn't hurt to try and ask anyway!
We are rational creatures, so it only makes sense that questions can often be at the forefront of our minds. Like Mary, sometimes we need more than a simple answer, but an explanation and example at times might be necessary for beliefs to be born.
In the following posts, we'll explore some questions and dialogue from Greg Boyd and his father in their book, "Letters from a Skeptic".
What are some of your beliefs? Were questions raised when you were doing the exercise? Was it easier to think of disbeliefs than beliefs?