They keep getting younger. I was at my alma matter yesterday and noting all the newborn babies skateboarding down the side walk looking late for class – I know the feeling. The school has quadrupled since I left so it was a little disorienting, but I made my way to the school of behavioral sciences in search of a certain professor. As he always does he invited me into his office for a chat, and then almost three hours later I left puffy eyed and wiser for it. It started with small talk and turned into me crying and throwing all my guts on the table, to which he gave structure, new language and wisdom and handed it back to me completely different (subconscious note made on being better at this as a counselor, step one… err, reformat their guts).
I respect him more than almost anyone I know and I sometimes find myself reformulating what I say in hopes of swaying him to think I learned what he taught me for all those years. But then he is a psychologist, so he foils my plans with one question (step two, ask better questions). He asked me why I’m doubting God’s goodness, so I started rambling off all the studying I’ve been doing to try and understand how he could be good when he doesn’t seem it, all the books I’ve read, all my paradigm shifts, then he interrupted me.
“I want to hear this, but this wasn’t my question, I was asking why you are struggling with God’s goodness.”
“Well, because bad things happen to good people, because He’s elusive then damns people for not understanding, because He does a lot of things in the Bible that don’t seem good, because life is hard right now and I don’t think He cares.”
And thus we went from talking concepts, to laying the façade aside and discussing my heart (step three, be a genius). I was so afraid to be brutally honest because I didn’t want my professor to be disappointed in me because I'm here. I don’t know how I got here, or if it was foolishness that lead me to this place, or if it’s just my personality, but here I am…doubting, and I need help. Although he was honest about his concerns, he said welcome to the club, and I felt supported in my endeavor, like we had solidarity in the toils of faith, but with a strong encouragement towards another perspective (step four, go ahead and give up).
He exposed something in me that I couldn’t see, and it’s that I am looking for answers to the unanswerable. There are parts of life and religion that live in the fog of the unknown, and I’m looking for a new system that claims clarity in the fog before I acknowledge the only option there ever has been - faith. I’ve got to flip the process, and from a place of faith and a belief in the God of the Bible, I can use my curiosity to learn, not to find a new system to fix the questions, because they won't. There will never be enough answers to absolve my need for faith, they aren't out there even though they might claim to be. So, how do I do this?
I think I start by living it. I keep reading the Bible even when it doesn’t make sense. I keep praying in spite of the unknown. I keep asking wise people questions. I try and do what God has asked me to do, without answers to why. I keep trusting. I keep fighting for faith. I engage with God like He is good, because he declared He is and He never asked me to figure out if that was true, He just asked me to live in light of that.
Oooh, but the questions. I guess I’m just one of those people who has to ask them and find the answers someone else could have given me a long time ago. I think they call that, learning the hard way.