How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? (Psalm 13:1)
Have you ever been kicked out of a bible study? I have; in fact, I got kicked out of three bible studies during one summer. I’d just graduated from college in the Northeast and moved to a small town in Texas to do construction work. The lady who lived in the apartment above me thought I needed some religion.
When she invited me to join her Bible study, I accepted. After a few weeks with her group, she said, “I don’t think this bible study is the right one for you.” I asked, “Why not?” She responded, “I don’t know how to answer your questions.”
She recommended that I join the elder’s bible study, and I was glad to do so. After two weeks, the leader told me that the pastor’s bible study would be a better fit for me.
I joined that one, but after a month, the pastor said I needed to find another church. When I asked why, he said, “You ask too many questions. You want to know why bad things happen in the world, why good people suffer, and where God is when we most need Him. There isn’t room in this church to struggle with God.”
Was the upstairs neighbor right in thinking that I needed some religion? Of course. But what I needed was a religion that allowed for room to struggle with God, room to question how to make sense of God’s ways, and room to bring all that I was—both my faith and my questions—to God.
It was confusing to get kicked out of those three bible studies. I did, though, receive much solace when I read the psalms and saw how often David asked his own questions of the Lord.
If David, the man after God’s own heart, could ask hard and searching questions such as,” How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?” Then I’m encouraged to believe we’ll not lose God’s heart if we follow his lead.
Although my questions got me kicked out of three bible studies, I believe my questions actually brought me closer to God.
- Have you ever felt like you weren’t allowed to ask God hard questions? Ever felt exiled or guilty that you did? Did your questions go away when you tried to deny or stifle them?
- Have you ever considered that asking your questions and acknowledging your struggles actually brings you closer to God? Isn’t that what David’s example suggests?
- Having faith in God doesn’t mean that we will never ask questions, never struggle, never doubt. Having faith means that we trust in bringing our questions, struggles, and doubts to God. Do you have anything you want or need to bring to God right now?