What does a question feel like? An ice cube melting on the tip of your tongue, there and then gone. Sticky like toffee stuck between your teeth; sharp and bright like shards of glass, sparking one curiosity after another.
And then there are the questions that burn when you touch them. The ones that grip your hands right back and don’t let go. They emerge only in the silent spaces: right before you fall asleep, or in the rare moments during the day when you pause to catch a breath. These are the questions of your heart, the echoing ones that point to a deeper longing in your life.
As far as I’m concerned, I could do with more answers and less questions. But it seems that Jesus enjoys the conversation
Lately, I’ve been thinking about how much Jesus loves questions, especially the ones of our hearts. He asks his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” (Mark 8:29). Three times he asks Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” (John 21:17). In many of his teachings, he opens with a question, such as, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God?” (Luke 13:20). More often than not, he would answer a question with a question, and he would receive them gladly.
This is one of my favourite things about Jesus. His love of questions and his ability to use them to illuminate the larger, deeper, and perhaps even hidden questions of our own hearts. Arguably, it is also one of my least favourite things about Jesus. The impulse to shake him by the shoulders and say, “Enough with the riddles, just tell me the answer!” is one that I’m all too familiar with. As far as I’m concerned, I could do with more answers and less questions. But it seems that Jesus enjoys the conversation.
I’m challenging myself to be more okay with questions, with bringing them to God and sitting in the mystery of them together, letting them peel back the layers of my heart and show me what they will. It’s difficult. The absence of an immediate answer often leads me to abandon my questions all together or to chalk it up to silence from God. But I think there is something to allowing space for the questions of your heart to emerge and work slowly, giving them a voice as they do, especially the ones that, at first, taste like doubt. I used to avoid these questions because they felt like a sign that my faith was wavering. I am doubting, I am uncertain, and I must be stronger in my belief. But I’ve come to realize how false this is. Ask all your questions, the bitter and the sweet. Don’t bury the lanterns that are lit to guide your way.
What does a question feel like? The weight of an envelope resting in the crack of a mail slot. Paper, smoothing out the creases of a careful fold: an invitation. Come, ask everything. And if you listen closely, maybe you’ll hear Jesus ask you a question right back. After all, he loves questions.