Lately I have been pondering a section of Luke chapter one (Luke 1:5-38). Zechariah and Mary were both visited by an angel. They were both told about an upcoming pregnancy and both of them had one question in response to that announcement: “How?”
That is where the similarities ended. The angel’s response to Zechariah’s question made it clear that the angel was not pleased! In fact, Zechariah was punished and was not able to speak until his son was born. The angel responded to Mary in a completely different tone. The angel answered Mary’s question and promised her that it was going to be fulfilled.
What was the difference?
Upon studying the Greek it was all about the angle of the question. For those who like studying Greek, the “How” in Luke 1:18 is number 2596. Zechariah’s “How” means “in accordance with what criterion-a principle or standard by which something may be judged or decided.” Zechariah wanted proof before he could decide if he wanted to believe it or not. He was cynical. He wasn’t willing to believe until the angel could prove that it would happen.
In Luke 1:35 Mary asked “How” too. Her “how” in Greek is number 4459. Mary’s “how” means “of one seeking information and desiring to be taught,” She leaned in and wanted to learn more. She didn’t doubt that it would happen, she was just wanting to find out more. She was curious.
The Christian life isn’t a life that is free from doubt, disbelief or emotion, but it IS a life WITH Jesus. He is not afraid of our questions. In fact he was asked 183 questions in the New Testament. Jesus himself asked others 307 questions. Questions don’t scare God.
God wants our questions. Questions create conversations. Questions make us think. Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus tells us to come to Him. When we are weary with burdens or grief, He wants us to come. When we are heavily laden with what we should or shouldn’t do, He wants us to come.
The Psalms are full of questions for God. David is a wonderful example of taking all your emotions, concerns and questions to the Lord. Emotions and feelings are not bad. It is what we do with those emotions that can lead us to a life of freedom or a life of bondage. Feelings are indicators that something is happening. We need to take those feelings to God and let Him explain what is true and what is a lie. He can help us interpret things correctly. He can comfort us, clarify, correct and lead us.
Nicodemus is another example of someone who asked, “How?” In John 3:11-21 Nicodemus was like Mary. His curiosity caused him to lean in to ask more questions. He was thoroughly confused. He had thought he had it all figured out and then Jesus came along and wrecked all that He knew. He desperately wanted to understand. He kept asking questions trying to understand exactly what Jesus was saying. He wanted to learn and fully understand the truth. I don’t think that he fully understood all that Jesus was saying when he left the conversation, but John 19:38-42 shows me he kept being curious until he finally did believe.
Now and the Next
I think it is unrealistic to believe that we will one day have things all figured out. I don’t think that will happen on this side of heaven. But I want to make sure that I do live a life like Mary and Nicodemus. I want to be constantly curious. I want to continue to learn more, grow more.
I am so grateful that we serve a God who is not afraid of our questions. He is gracious and kind. He wants us to know the truth. God promises to not withhold wisdom from us. I will leave you with the promise of Matthew 7:7-8.
“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks the door will be opened.”
Dear friends, keep asking and seeking and you will discover new and glorious answers and promises!
Let’s raise up a generation that knows where to take their questions. First, share with your child what questions you have and how the Lord has answered those questions. Create an environment in your home where questions are welcomed and encouraged. Even the completely off the wall ones! Teach them what to do with their questions. How to ask God and how to listen for the answer.
If you are anything like me, you need to practice having a poker face. As the show says, kids do say the darndest things!! We don’t want our shock and fear to make them hesitate to ask their questions. Remind yourself that questions are good. It means they are thinking and wanting to know the truth. Let’s teach them to have a curious heart. Let’s teach them that God loves their questions and loves to answer them. It is also important that we emphasize that only God is the source of truth so He should be our go-to person. They will need to believe these truths so that they are not swayed by the next cultural trend vying for their attention.