There’s a song by Chris Rice titled “Big Enough” that asks a lot of questions. It’s on one of my work-music playlists so sometimes, I’ll hear it several times in one day. As it played yesterday, the lyrics finally became audible.
“God, if You’re there, I wish You’d show me
And God if You care then I need You to know me
I hope You don’t mind me askin’ the questions…”
My brother (whom I love and adore!) used to torment me as a child. He slapped me around to make me tougher. Made me sing while running to increase my lung capacity. Threatened to make me read the book of Revelation, which, back then, I thought was just full of scary monsters! All of these things made me a stronger person. One of the greatest gifts he gave me, though, was permission to question my faith.
You’ll understand, that for a young girl who grew up in the church, questions like, “Does God even really exist?” can be traumatizing. So, when he would bring up like topics, I’d fight really hard to dismiss them from my mind. “How do you know that what you believe is the truth?” “What if the Bible isn’t actually God’s Word?”
The scariest thing about these questions was the possibility that my answers would contradict the faith I had been raised in. What if I came to the conclusion that God didn’t exist? What if my church wasn’t God’s true church? Or what if the Bible wasn’t the inspired Word of God? I was afraid to ask the questions…
Memory fails me for the timeline, but I remember, at some point during my early teens, my parents told me that if ever I found that the church I grew up in did not follow the Bible, I should leave and join a church that does. They were both converts to the faith. They raised me in the church they believed to be true to the Word of God, but my allegiance was not to be to this church. Rather, I was to be true to God’s Word, even if it led me out of the faith I’d been raised in.
Who knows how serious they were with that liberty? But at least it gave me a freedom that engendered security. You’d have to be confident in what you believe to allow your child to question it. Ooh, or maybe it was reverse psychology…so I wouldn’t actually ask the questions? I started asking them anyway. With a lot of fear at first…hoping I’d end up where I’d started; then with greater confidence that asking was the right thing to do.
The God I believe in is the kind of God who wants to be known – hence, the Bible. He does everything He can to disclose Himself to humanity (Hebrews 1:1-3). Assuming He exists and that this is true of Him, then why wouldn’t He answer my sincere questions?
Rather than spending my life afraid to look into legitimate matters that present themselves to my thoughts for consideration, I’ve embraced the questions. So far, I still believe that God exists. I still believe in the Bible as His inspired Word. And I am still a part of the faith I was brought up in. I hope to remain intellectually honest as time progresses, to remain true to myself and to the things I believe to be true.
The refrain to Chris Rice’s song ends:
“I hope You don’t mind me askin’ the questions
But I figure You’re big enough
I figure You’re big enough…”