Devotion for the Week...
I can remember being in school and being confused, but not wanting to ask a question because I didn't want to look stupid. Did you ever do that? Sit there not understanding what the teacher was saying, but still you kept your mouth shut because you figured everyone else understood perfectly?
I can also remember that sometimes, usually at the start of a new school year, a teacher would stand at the front of the class and say, "There are no stupid questions" and "If you don't understand, there are probably others who don't understand either, so ask me to explain it again." Funny thing is, even with that assurance that I probably wasn't the only one feeling confused, I still found it hard to raise my hand and say I didn't understand.
Apparently I'm not the only one who didn't want to ask questions when things got confusing. Even Jesus' disciples avoided asking questions. "He [Jesus] said to them, 'The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.' But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it" (Mark 9: 31,32).
Just imagine yourselves in that situation for a moment. You are with Jesus, your trusted teacher, and your fellow disciples. The Bible even says there was no one else around, since "Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, because he was teaching his disciples" (vv. 30, 31). It's about as safe an environment as can possibly be imagined. Then Jesus tells you something that makes no sense and, even though He has told you the same thing before, you can't bring yourself to ask what He's talking about!
I wonder why the disciples were afraid to ask Him. Were they like me, sure that everyone else understood, so they didn't want to expose their own confusion? Or did they not really want to know what Jesus meant by the 'they will kill him" portion of what He said? I mean, sometimes if something is scary, it feels easier to just pretend it doesn't exist. Or was it the "and after three days he will rise" portion that made them afraid? That concept isn't an easy one to understand, so maybe they just didn't want to go there. Whatever the reason, the disciples didn't ask Jesus to give them more information, or to explain Himself again so they could understand.
God isn't afraid of our questions. Read through the Psalms sometime and see how often David questioned God. For example, Psalm 10 starts off with, "Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?" That's a harsh question, almost an accusation, isn't it? And yet God was not bothered by David asking it. In fact, God says of David, "I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart" (Acts 13:22).
God wants us to ask our questions. We may not always get answers. David didn't always get answers either. But God wants us to ask, He wants us to care enough to want to understand. He doesn't want us afraid of looking stupid. In fact, James tells us that if we lack wisdom, we should be all the more eager to ask God! "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you" (James 1:5).
So, my question for you is this: What questions are you afraid to ask?