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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Hard Questions

"Judge a person by their questions, rather than their answers."
~ Voltaire

Hard Questions

"Now, O LORD my God ... I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in."
~ 1 Kings 3:7 (NKJV)

But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him. And now, little children, abide in Him ...
~ 1 John 2:27-28 (NKJV)

Back in January, Russell Holloway invited me to do Q&A for his blog Bullets and Butterflies. For years I've answered Bible questions from students, family, friends, friends of friends, and now, blog readers. I've long wanted to do something more formal, but didn't feel qualified to offer myself without a sponsor.

I'll admit to knowing the Bible quite well. I've read it since I was a child. Since 1985 I've prayerfully read it over and over, cover to cover and inside out, studying the original languages in Bible dictionaries. I've researched biblical culture, archeology, history. I even peruse the commentaries, though I don't like to give them more attention than the Holy Spirit, Whom I believe to be our first and final Teacher.

But I also can't call myself a Bible expert. As one critic adeptly pointed out, "Anne, you've never been to Bible college like I have. You only read the Bible."

Russell startled me when he issued his invitation to bring on the questions with, "... the harder the question the better ..." I wanted to cry out, "Wait! I don't have all the answers!" I consoled myself with the knowledge that I know the One Who does, and plunged in.

I feel like a little child facing a doctorate exam.

Not because of the four questions I've handled so far—which have been plenty challenging—but because I'm painfully aware of how much I don't know, how much I'm learning, and how difficult my own questions for God are lately becoming. Questions like:

How do I give my kids a sense of how bad sin is without letting them wallow in it the way I did?

Since joy is the fruit of the Spirit like love is, am I doing something wrong if I lose my hold on joy for a time, the way I would be if I hated someone for a time?

I know what it is to release something to God, and have rest in not worrying about the outcome. How do I not do that too much, before lack of worry starts to become unhealthy apathy?

My hardest question is one I've asked it many times over the years. It is not altogether unlike Philippians 1:21-24. God never answers it. He simply wraps me in His love and wipes away my tears, because it comes out something like this:

Dear God, the more time I spend with You, the more I love You, and the more homesick I get to be with You. But I want to come with my arms filled with treasures I've laid up in heaven while on earth, so I guess You better keep me here a while. Is it possible to be a little less homesick?

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.Image source:


  1. I don't expect anyone to have all the answers, but I trust you to take a good stab at it.

  2. I love and appreciate you for being truthful, and allowing God to help you find the answers.

  3. Willingness (more than willingness---an invitation!) to tackle the toughest questions seems like a sure way to growth, movement, protection against stagnation...

  4. What i like about you is that you are steeped in Scripture but you have a deft wisdom at applying it to everyday life. And that's what those questions beg....

  5. I'm encouraged that the Holy Spirit knows how to speak to us uniquely. This post reminded me (for some reason) there will be a white stone with my new name on it in heaven someday. Until then, I want to do all I can with the name my parents gave me and the name the Holy Spirit whispers to me.
    ~ Wendy

  6. I so appreciate your wisdom, Anne, as well as the humility with which you share it. Press on, dear one.

  7. Your insight and wisdom, founded on humility and a willingness to let God's holy spirit guide you, make you more than qualified to wrestle with the difficult questions.

    Scripture teaches, "Test everything. Hold on to the good." (1 Thess. 5:21)

    Keep testing and keep teaching Anne. Thank you for your friendship.

  8. i'm always chewing:) agree with most of the comments above. like the anologies you use at times too.

  9. No one is fully adequate to reach out to others! God sees willingness and availability and a seriousness to reach out to the heavens for His glory! Someone said this and I quote, 'We are like a beggar telling other beggars where to find bread!"

  10. T ~ Thanks for the confidence in me. :D

    Denise ~ Without the Lord, I don't have ANY good answers. To Him be all the credit and glory.

    Monica ~ LOL! Right you are! Being challenged and stretched definitely makes for growth. However uncomfortable the process, the Lord always blesses throughout it.

    David ~ You're very kind. While I can appreciate intellectual dialogue, until it intersects with our lives it has a tendency to become the knowledge that puffs up—in my experience.

    Wendy ~ I like the point you make. One of the reasons I feel able to even attempt this blog is believing that however imperfect my words, the Lord uses them "uniquely" in each person's life as pleases Him.

    Jennifer ~ Thank you for the urge to press on. Daily posts meant I just sat down and studied and shared. New habits are making writing more of a challenge, to put it mildly.

    Russell ~ I'm deeply grateful for the trust you've put in me. By God's strength and grace, I pray I'll live up to it.

    Bud ~ Thanks for mentioning analogies. I see them all day, everywhere, and feel I could never run out of them. : )

    Bible Lover ~ Indeed! By the power of the Holy Spirit, each of us is empowered as a beggar among beggars. He does not fail!

  11. And then there is the old Michael Card song that reminds us that "questions always tell us more than answers ever will."

    Seems the process of asking -- which starts with yearning and leads to seeking -- is a powerful thing all by itself.

    Keep asking and seeking the answers -- keep the Holy Spirit as busy as you want. :)

    So good to see you posting here again.

  12. Oh, Anne, how I love questions. How I love to ponder them at length...I think even above answering them. I love it when students ask questions I can't answer. If I have the answer, nothing new unfolds in my mind. But if they ask one that stumps me...we open a whole new can o'worms together.

    As to your last question--beautiful. I wish I had more energy and I could bring God more treasures. Instead my resources wane as the school year continues. But I count my blessings every day, I do what I must, what I can, and sometimes more that what I can only by the grace and power of God. And I too long to be with Him.

    God bless you today, dear one.

  13. you have such wealth to draw from as you question ... the input is rich and abundant ... as is the output

  14. Lyla ~ Oh, yes, the asking is a powerful thing. But when we're finally willing to ask, we're able to quit trying to NOT learn things, even after many years? And the idea of keeping the Holy Spirit busy makes me laugh. I'm surely one of the Lord's most challenging cases.

    Gwen ~ You surely remember the widow's mite? I am certain that what you give with great love and sacrifice is far more than what most of us offer. Be encouraged that God sees the cost.

    Susan ~ I think I grow to love you more and more with every comment here, every post I catch on your blog. You are a dear and sweet soul.

  15. Quote:

    But I also can't call myself a Bible expert. As one critic adeptly pointed out, "Anne, you've never been to Bible college like I have. You only read the Bible."

    ...this is the thought process of so many. i think those that think like this are getting/taking their rewards now. isn't it better to be counted as the least? you made another comment elsewhere about Watchman Nee as being "esteemed." yet, he's already been discarded by his own "little flock" and others that hold a degree. i think the majority of you're posts are as deep if not deeper in some cases. the analogies are really helpful too for this unlearned man. we're supposed to be branches, not mighty trees...


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