the childlike wisdom of asking questions

My sister Keturah, seven years old, ran into the living room yesterday calling out to her just-older sister, “Tirzah, Tirzah! Which came first–the chicken or the egg?”

How far they got on THAT question I don’t know, but I do know that life in my house is a neverending stream of questions. Some are long and involved (“can you help me with my algebra?”); some are perpetual (“is it time to eat yet?”); some make me laugh (“Rachel, why aren’t you married yet? You’re old enough!”). Sometimes we resurrect eternal debates, as my sister Deborah and I did yesterday in a discussion on free will and the sovereignty of God.

If you’re in the position of answer-giver it’s easy to become frustrated and lay an embargo on all future queries, but overall, we who have some knowledge should encourage questions–and ask them ourselves. Questions are one of the keys to life. Urged King Solomon, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding” (Prov.4:7).

No great discovery has ever been made without curiosity. Some of the greatest spiritual revelations have been given in response to questions. The disciples may not have been good at figuring things out, but they could ask questions, and they did. Even their ill-advised questions opened new vistas to them: “Lord, why are you sleeping?” they asked in a storm. “Don’t you care about us?” In answer, Jesus woke, calmed the storm, and rebuked their lack of faith. His power prompted a new question: “What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” The answer eventually came, and from it was born what we now call “the Christian faith.”

As a parent, homeschooler, disciple-maker, older sibling, or expert of any kind, keep your mind and heart open to questions, and recognize that every answer you can give–or point the questioner toward–is a gift. As a child, student, disciple, seeker, do not be afraid to ask, even the stupid questions. They may lead to wondrous new horizons.

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See Mark 4 for the story of the wind, the waves, and the question.






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