The other night, during our family worship time, I was pelted by a hail storm of theological questions from my kids.
It started when we prayed for a family member with cancer who has not yet experienced healing. In the same prayer, we praised God for His healing of someone else. The tension between the answered and unanswered parts of our prayer was not missed.
Two seconds after we said amen, Nathan asked, “Mommy, why does God pick people to heal?”
As I launched into a mini-sermon on the mystery of prayer, and how God doesn’t tell us everything we’d like to know, Alexa (age 2) interrupted with her own pressing question.
“Will we see Zeus when we go to heaven?”
Zeus was our cat, who passed away last year. His passing opened an unending string of questions about death and dying. I explained to Alexa that the Bible doesn’t exactly tell us what happens to animals after they die.
Nathan then asked, “Why don’t we know when we will die?” Kenna immediately added, “And why do some people die old and some people die young?”
Though the answers varied slightly, the underlying chorus was pretty much the same: God didn’t tell us everything we’d like to know. We simply don’t have all the answers.
As I’ve written before, I believe it’s crucial for kids to understand in no uncertain terms that Christians don’t have all the answers (and neither does anyone else). But after I tucked the kids into bed that night, I realized that simply saying “God didn’t tell us everything” is insufficient.
Necessary, but insufficient.
There are three other pieces of understanding that need to accompany this truth. Though they seem straight forward on paper, it has taken me years to personally fit these pieces together.
First, God’s revelation is not broken.
When a book has a blank page, we come to one of two conclusions: 1) there was a printing error or 2) the author meant to leave the page blank. Because seeing a blank page where you would otherwise expect to see information can lead to confusion, publishers often print the words “this page intentionally left blank.”
The information God hasn’t given us is analogous to a blank page in His revelation. Yes, it’s important to explain to our kids that Christians don’t have all the answers, but it’s just as important to clarify that our incomplete knowledge is not an error on God’s part. God is perfect. He knows exactly what information we do and don’t have. When we are faced with uncertain or missing answers, we can be confident that those pages were intentionally left blank.
Second, we can trust that God has revealed all we need to know.
The implication of God’s revelation not being broken is that He has revealed all we need to know. We might want to know more, but we must trust that God has given us all we need to know in order to have a relationship with Him. A good and loving God who seeks a relationship with us would not withhold the necessary information we need to enter into that relationship. Whether we like it or not, God has given us a “take it or leave it” revelation. We can’t pry more answers from His hands. We can only trust that we have everything we need to work with and choose to accept it.
Third, it should be our life’s work to understand the answers He has given us.
Frankly, there are many days when I feel that God left out more answers than He gave. While that used to be a source of much frustration, it’s turned into a source of passion for studying the Bible. I want to understand everything that God has said. When we truly internalize that God has given us every single piece of information we need, it should make us thirst for His Word. If our kids learn to see the Bible as God’s timeless and selected revelation rather than an as ancient book removed from today’s needs, they too will thirst to know more.
How do you handle questions we don’t have answers for? I’d love to hear your thoughts!