Friday, February 28, 2014

Just ask

Do you remember back to your elementary school days when you had a question but embarrassment kept you from ever asking the teacher for an explanation or answer? Maybe you were like me, hesitant to raise your hand and ask what that word on the board said, or what math principle should be used to solve number four on the classroom handout. I used to sit there, just hoping that another student would have the very same question and the courage to voice it. Sometimes I was in luck. One of the vivacious, outspoken students would boldly call out (rarely raising their hand), "I don't understand what you wrote on the board!" or "Number four is confusing. I don't know how to solve it."
The teacher would inevitably sigh, frustrated by the lack of manners in the questioner. She would then clarify the word on the board or help to explain the correct action to take on solving number four. Sensing that a number of students must have been plagued by this same question the teacher would often conclude her review by saying, "Remember class, there are no stupid questions."
"Yeah, right!" I would think. You might not think they're stupid but the rest of the class will laugh at me. Never mind that there was a very good possibility that a number of other kids had the same question; I loathed to be the one to voice our confusion. I was far too inhibited. I feared being deemed stupid or "slow." But thankfully, my class always seemed to have one or two students who didn't suffer such shyness and didn't mind loudly and frequently making their lack of understanding known.
Now that I'm older I'm still faced with problems that I don't know the answer to, life equations that I don't know how to solve. With these questions there is no text book or handout with numbers and symbols that taunt me with their obscure meaning.  There is no classroom full of students scribbling with number two pencils or teacher writing on a chalkboard with illegible markings. The questions that face me now are more complex and nebulous. What is the purpose of my life?... What should I do for a job or career?…. How should I handle my health struggles?…. How do I make myself useful for the Kingdom of God?…. What does God really want me to do with my life?…. 
These are certainly not the questions I faced in elementary school. Yet, I still suffer from the same fear that keeps me from asking for answers. The questions plague me, leaving me confused and paralyzed. I am taken back to sitting in fourth grade with my math book open but nothing written on my handout. I don't even know how to solve the problem. I don't know what the book means by "x" or "exponent" or "quotient." I'm overwhelmed and too timid to ask for assistance.
I made it through elementary school in that predicament but I can't make it through life that way. There is no other student faced with the same life circumstances as me. No one else who can ask my specific question that I desperately need answered. No, this time the asking is up to me. Thankfully, I have an attentive teacher who assures me that there are no stupid questions. Unlike in elementary school, I'm taking my Teacher's words to heart, coming to Him without hesitation and embarrassment.
James 1:5 says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." I am in great need of wisdom. I don't have the solution to the predicaments of my life. I'm overwhelmed by questions and short on answers. I struggle to know which direction to go, whether to turn left, right or just continue on straight. I desperately need wisdom!
God doesn't expect me to come into this classroom called life with all of the answers. In fact, He knows that I am ill-equipped to tackle all of the predicaments of life on my own. That is why He has sent me His ever present counselor in the Holy Spirit. God has promised to never leave me because He knows that I will always need a teacher. On this side of heaven I will never "graduate" and no longer need my Teacher. As long as I live I will be a student under the care of His direction and guidance. He has all the answers and the kindest, most gracious way of teaching His lessons. Sometimes He doesn't give me the answers in a way I could predict. There are times He comes along side me and guides me to the answer. Rarely does He simply lay it in my lap. More often than not He wants to lead me to the answer while teaching me patience in the process.
The first step to ever getting an answer to my questions is to ask. God has all wisdom and He will share it with those who ask.
Remember, there are no stupid questions. Simply come to your loving, all-knowing Teacher, laying down all of your confusion and questions, believing that He will answer you with His mighty wisdom.

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