[Originally published in the Monroe News on September 8, 2023]
Is there such a thing as a stupid question? I’ve heard there is some debate over this idea. Perhaps we could even get philosophical debating the question about questions. Those that say no would argue that so long as we are asking questions, any questions, we are rightly and actively trying to understand this world and that is good. Those that would say yes, there are stupid questions, are simply realists. You know stupidity when you hear it.
Parents might have their own answer to this question. When you’ve been endlessly peppered with questions by a toddler you’ll have a few thoughts on the validity of every question. A classic is when your eyes get pried open at 3am by your 5-year old only to have them ask you the question “Mom/Dad, are you awake?” But its not just our little ones. We do it too. Did you have a neighbor catch you doing yard work on Labor Day in the 90 degree heat and ask “hot enough for you?” Yea, thanks for asking. Or perhaps it will be on a snowy sub-zero day in February when the same neighbor stops to ask “I just love winter. Don’t you?” So maybe there are a few foolish and stupid questions out there, you decide for yourself.
Now to get a bit more serious for a moment. I was reading Mark's Gospel a few weeks ago and I think I came across what amounts to a very stupid question in Scripture. Jesus and his disciples were on a boat at sea. It was evening and a storm squall surprised them and was battering the boat quite heavily. The text records how the waves were breaking into the boat and the boat was taking on water. In the midst of all this Mark’s Gospel records that Jesus was fast asleep. And then much like the 5-year old approaching their parent at 3am the disciples approached Jesus to awaken him from his slumber. They said to him “Teacher do you not care that we are perishing?” Quite a question. Do you not care? It carries with it a heavy accusation. How would we rate this in the pantheon of questions? Is it a stupid one or not? I imagine you have thoughts.
Maybe some of you had similar thoughts a few weeks ago when powerful storms battered Monroe County. Many of you might have taken on water in your basements. Maybe you lost great tree limbs. Perhaps your house suffered damage and worse. Will you share in the disciples line of questioning in approaching God and asking “don’t you care?”
I believe it is okay for us to challenge God with such questions because God is powerful to answer. He has shown time and time again His disposition towards us and it is a good one. When the disciples awoke Jesus on the boat in the midst of the storm He acted swiftly in that case. He stopped the winds and the sea and all was calm, just like that. There are plenty of other instances of Jesus encountering great need around Him and His compassion was endless. When the wine ran out at the wedding in Cana He showed His care by turning water into wine. When He encountered the Canaanite woman asking for him to help her daughter, He answered the call and made her well.
Is it a stupid question to ask “God, don’t you care?” Well let’s just say that I don’t need to defend God or His track record in history in showing compassion, mercy and grace for all of us.
Perhaps the perspective we need to seek is to understand how frequently we look at things from the worst, most negative way possible. We see the bad and we see the hurt and we think how could this possibly happen under God’s watch? He must not care. Instead, consider how much worse things *could be* without God being on the watch. We’ll never know of the countless possible tragedies and disasters that could have happened that God has prevented. We would never know how much worse a storm or a wildfire could be if God wasn’t caring for us. We only know what we see and we cast judgment with our limited information never fully knowing just what God has already done to care for us.
But there is one event for which we have all the information we need. One event which proves undoubtedly just how much God cares. This one event is the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. If God won’t spare His only Son in order to pay the price for the sins of all mankind, then how could we possibly doubt how much He cares for us. So to answer all our questions: God does care. Always. The cross is the proof.
Jesus is a calmer of storms. If you find yourself in the midst of one of life’s storms right now know that He does care for you and so do many others. No matter what the waves and winds of life throw at you, now matter how much you think your ship is getting battered in the storm, know that you are never alone. Your Lord Jesus is with you. He knows exactly what you’re going through. He will not abandon you. He will see you through the storm to calmer and brighter days.
To God be the glory.