Can I just say that I don’t really enjoy summer reading? Period. Sure, the books may be interesting, but they’re really not worth writing essays about. One of the books I’m currently reading for school is Night by Elie Wiesel, a memoir of a Jew taken to a concentration camp during the Holocaust. Sounds depressing, right? Naturally, I wasn’t the most enthusiastic person in the world to start reading this book. However, the first couple pages really stood out to me. I was surprised that these words truly did make me stop and think.
“He had watched me one day as I prayed at dusk.
‘Why do you cry when you pray?’ he asked, as though he knew me well.
‘I don’t know,’ I answered, troubled.
I had never asked myself that question. I cried because… because something inside me felt the need to cry. That was all I knew.
‘Why do you pray?’ he asked after a moment.
Why did I pray? Strange question. Why did I live? Why did I breathe?
‘I don’t know,’ I told him, even more troubled and ill at ease. ‘I don’t know.’
From that day on, I saw him often. He explained to me, with great emphasis, that every question possessed a power that was lost in the answer…
Man comes closer to God through the questions he asks Him, he liked to say. Therein lies true dialogue. Man asks and God replies. But we don’t understand His replies. We cannot understand them. Because they dwell in the depths of our souls and remain there until we die. The real answers, Eliezer, you will find only within yourself.
‘And why do you pray, Moishe?’ I asked him.
‘I pray to the God within me for the strength to ask Him the real questions.'”
When we ask questions, we expect answers most of the time. That’s just how the world is. But I think each of us has these little questions deep within ourselves that never seem to be answered. There just doesn’t even seem to be an answer. And this is when some of us become troubled and confused, doubtful and even angry.
With fists shaking to the sky, maybe you ask God, “Why won’t you just tell me already?” And you know what? He answers. Just not in ways you always expect. God likes to take his time, meaning he cannot be rushed. We, as selfish, fast-paced human beings, usually just end up losing patience and eventually losing hope that God will ever come through and finally answer our pleas and requests.
Or maybe you haven’t even gotten around to asking those questions yet. Maybe you’re afraid of what the answer will be or you’re afraid to admit that your trust in God isn’t at 100%. You want to know what I think? Admitting to God your doubts and worries, and asking him those raw questions that eat you up inside, is far better than pretending to understand. Quite frankly, it’s impossible to fully understand how God works. The sooner we realize that, the easier it’ll be for us to be completely honest with God and with ourselves.
Just like Moishe in the book I mentioned earlier, I’m praying for the strength to ask those questions. I don’t want to have to pretend that I have all the answers, I don’t want to be afraid to come to God and lay all my heart’s troubles and worries on the table. I want to be open, I want to be true, I want my relationship with Jesus to be raw and honest.
Where do you stand today?