Difficult Questions – Unexpected Answers | The Rev. Robert A. Jacobs, Deacon

10.16.20 | Community, Pulpit Posts, World

People by nature, are inquisitive. There are many unanswered dilemmas that we want to know the outcome. We want answers. We want them now! But we want them to meet our expectations. Look at how we view the upcoming election. We may ask the question, “Who will be the next president?” Many of us may already have a pre-determined way that we feel that questions should be answered. We want our own candidate elected and may be disappointed if the answer doesn’t match our expectations. We want answers, but we don’t want answers contrary to our views. We want answers that match our preconceived notions.

Difficult questions often have difficult answers. In Sunday’s gospel we will read, Jesus was challenged with an interesting dilemma. The Pharisees and the Herodians tried to catch Jesus in a word of treason against either the Roman Empire or the Jewish people.

They hoped that He would take one of two sides therefore placing Himself on the bad side of someone. On the one hand, He could speak out against the paying of taxes which would amount to an act of treason against Rome and likely result in His execution.

Often, we have our own difficult questions. We look to God for answers and sometimes we don’t hear what we’re expecting. Sometimes, we’re not ready for the answer. Other times, we might receive the answer, but we don’t like the result. The most destructive questions are those that really don’t have an answer.

Sometimes people want to argue or test God instead of diving toward the truth. That’s what we see in the Gospel for Sunday.

Similarly like the Pharisees and the Herodians, we often pose questions to God that we feel can’t have a right answer either. Why did bad things happen? Why am I in this bad situation today? Why me Lord? We’ve probably all wondered something similar at sometime or another.

Sometimes these are legitimate questions. Sometimes, we already know the answer to our question and God can’t answer in a way that will ever satisfy us. That’s an attitude problem that we need to deal with. It’s not an issue of the answer, but the nature of the question. If we really want to have the answer, we’ll be content with the result, even if it’s contrary to our preconceived notions. It’s about improving our attitude first, and our situation second. Just because we feel a question should be answered a certain way, doesn’t make another answer wrong.

Attitude can be changed simply by humbly coming to God, ready to receive what He offers, even if it’s not the answer we expected.

Reading scripture is only one way we can change our attitude. We can improve from the inside out through prayer, worship, confession, communion and even singing. In this way, we’re slowly, turning another piece of our time and ourselves over to Him. The works we perform on the outside have an effect on the inside as well. It may happen slowly, so slowly that we don’t even notice it.

In God’s eyes, we are the inquisitive children. Sometimes the questions are simple. Sometimes they’re complex. Sometimes we like the answers, and sometimes we avoid what we don’t want to hear. Sometimes we’re ready to hear the truth and move on with the knowledge. Other times we’re like children, unable to understand or bear the reality that exists.

It’s probably one of the hardest things we can do. Once in a while, we may need to drop how we think situations should be resolved, and let God figure it out for us. Ultimately, our attitude towards our relationship with God determines how we ask questions. Just like our relationships with family and friends are dictated by our relationships with them, the same is true with God.

Be patient, the answers come in His time with His wisdom.

Rev. Robert Jacobs

Rev. Robert Jacobs

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