There is a serious problem with modern American Christianity, and it doesn’t seem as though those in leadership are interested in doing anything about it. The problem? We no longer have the answers to the questions that people are asking. People are asking “why” questions and we are giving “how” answers. And this obviously doesn’t solve anything. This obviously doesn’t answer any of their questions.
And yet we continue to do it. We continue to ignore the questions people are really asking and turn the conversation to things that we know how to talk about. How.
We don’t know how to answer “why” questions. Or, maybe, we refuse to answer these kinds of questions. “Why” questions don’t fit into any of our boxes. They don’t fit our preconceived notions of what a good question is. They don’t fit with our preconceived answers.
And all the while, people are drowning in lakes and seas of their own making. Their questions mount and mount and pile up and become overwhelming and they begin to kick and struggle and as they do so, we throw out life preservers of “here is how it glorifies God.” But that isn’t what people are asking, or even what they need. Christians, especially, know that their problems and struggles and questions ultimately glorify God. But that doesn’t answer the “whys” of real life.
God may be most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him, but that doesn’t give hope to someone who has health problems and a wayward son and faith struggles. Just because something is true doesn’t mean that it is what someone is looking for. Sometimes people don’t need truth. Sometimes they need love.
Sometimes people need God.
The problem is, in a physical sense, in so many cases, God isn’t there. There is no incarnational presence of God in most people’s lives. Even in the lives of those who are His worshipers.
When God was among us, physically, there was a moment when one of His followers began to drown. You know the story. Jesus comes along walking on water. Peter wants to join Jesus and so He invites him to join. Peter steps out and, in a moment of what amounts to forgetfulness, he falls and begins to drown. Peter screams, “Save me, Lord!” And, to be speculative for a moment, he was probably thinking to himself, “Why did I get scared? Why did I look away? Why is He taking so long?” And, instead of telling Peter how he fell, Jesus simply reaches down and pulls him back up.
So next time somebody asks “why,” maybe, instead of explaining to them “how,” we should simply give them a hand.
Struggle with them.
Help them back into the boat.
Be the hands.