Is it Okay to Question God?

Is it okay to question God
A relationship with God sometimes includes those moments where you feel overwhelmed with an impossible situation. Is it okay to question God?

Crazy things happen. Children are born and placed in the NICU, unable to breathe on their own. Car accidents change our active lifestyle. The company closes and our income disintegrates. Name your “crazy.” I’m sure you have experienced something that knocks you off your feet.

And often (at least for me), the first thing that springs from our soul is a question, “Why? How?”

I question God. I questioned him when my son almost died, when the job didn’t open, when my career shifted—And I don’t think I’m alone in wondering if it’s okay to question God.

Is it Okay to Question God?

In Luke Chapter 1 we see two people question God when something crazy happens. And we see God respond in two different ways.

Read the two passages and look for similarities and differences in their interactions with God’s messenger, the Angel Gabriel.

Luke 1:5-20 (NIV)

The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold

In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.

Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.

11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”

19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

Stop and Think: What impressed on your heart about Zachariah’s response?

What could be more proof of knowing God would accomplish something than an amazing angel appearing next to you in the presence of God in the temple? Zachariah knew the Scriptures and would know—as a descendant of Abraham and Sarah, who miraculously had a baby in their old age—God is the God who opens barren wombs in old people.

It seems that Zachariah had spiritual amnesia or he didn’t really trust God God’s words—that God would do what He said He would do.

Sometimes, maybe we question, forgetting who God is. We don’t trust in what God’s Word says is true. Sometimes we have a Zachariah heart.

Now read Mary’s encounter with the angel and look for her response

Luke 1:26-38 (NIV)

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[a] the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”

38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

Stop and think: What did you notice that was different between Mary’s and Zachariah’s responses?

Mary was a woman of humble means and without influence and religious power like Zechariah probably enjoyed as a priest. But she believed God would fulfill the word spoken to her. She knew the story of Abraham and Sarah and of Hannah (the barren woman who became mother of Samuel the prophet). She believed God could do the impossible.

In other words, Zachariah questioned, “How CAN this happen?” And Mary questioned, “How WILL this happen?”


Wondering and questioning wasn’t the problem. Mary’s faith in the words and works of God was the difference.


Reflection

What kind of servants are we?

When we are faced with the hard before us with the impossible, whatever it is—are we quick to question God or quick to trust him?

Prayer

Talk to God about whatever might feel impossible in your life right now. Where do you need His power and faith to trust Him?

You may also use this prayer:

Holy Father, we worship you. Sometimes, though, we doubt Your words. We doubt what You say You will do—You will do. Because the impossible before us seems even impossible for You.

But Your Word says that You are always with us. Your Word says that You will never leave us or forsake us. Your Word says that Your power is perfected in our weakness and that You will accomplish what You set out to do.

And so God, even if we can’t understand everything You’re doing in our lives right now, we pray, oh Holy Spirit of God, that You give us the faith, the ability, the resolute decision—to trust You, even when we face the impossible. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Listen to the podcast for Luke 1

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