The Questions

September 16, 2009 | 26 comments

She’s only 7, but we’re reading some of the hard stories as we gather under her quilt at the close of each day.

We dive into Living Words, and we welcome the questions these stories raise, for we know what can happen when we don’t ask them. Silent questions breed doubt.

So we ask them here, together.

I glance at her, with that Bible open on her lap, and I see threads of myself behind those hazel eyes — eyes that look like mine. And I know the pain of searing doubt that can creep up and fester between questions that I never had the nerve to ask at her age. Or when I was a teenager. Or even when I was 22.

Would people see my doubting heart between the lines of my questions? So I didn’t ask the questions, burying them under pride instead.

And that’s why we ask them here, now, with the Old Testament flopped open on our laps. It’s easier to ask the questions when you have someone right beside you.

We dig into the stories, and go beyond the nicely packaged Sunday-school versions. Her dad and I know she’s ready for this. And so we jump into these gold-lined pages together. We welcome the questions.

The words feel like fists, sometimes. But we let the darkness of the words shade in true portraits of our faith’s heroes. Even our heroes were tarnished. They murdered, and stole, and got drunk, and said dumb things, and called down deadly curses on people who called them names.

She looks up at me with those hazel eyes, open wide in awe at new revelations: “But I thought Abraham was a nice guy,” she asks. (Genesis 21:14-16)

And why would God really think it’s OK to kill Goliath? she asks. Isn’t all murder wrong?

And are people just robots, or do we get to decide? And why did God let Adam and Eve eat that apple? And why was there so much killing in the Bible, and why is there so much killing today?

And why ….
And why ….
And why ….

And even though she’s ready to hear it, I’m left wondering whether I’m equipped to answer any of it. I stutter with weak answers that come in more questions: “I don’t know, Lydia. What do you think?”

So we walk through the hard passages together, embracing the questions and our own human frailty.

It was in those questions, I told her, where I met the Lord.

“That’s how we know the stories are real, Lydia,” I said, “These aren’t fairy tales. The characters in the Bible are real and weak and broken. They make mistakes, just like we do.”

We sink deeper still into the Word. We try to find peace in the pieces — knowing God fits it all together with wood and nails on Calvary.

And some of it …. well, some of it we tuck it away in the Mystery File.


This morning, I found a treasure in The Questions — and in a child’s answers.

These questions were answered easily, without help from Mama. She’d answered them on her own, without me to direct her answers.

That’s what I found this morning, when I opened Lydia’s Bible to take photographs.

Answers and hope, highlighted in green.

Her study Bible asks: “Does Jesus love me?”

She responded: YES.

The Bible asked: “Will Jesus ever stop loving me?”

She answered: NO!

In the midst of our questions, Lord Jesus,
Your love and
Your victory over the grave
give us
every answer we need.



by | September 16, 2009 | 26 comments


  1. Daune

    Isn't that one of the most encouraging things for a mom???
    To hear His name on their lips makes my heart sing…
    The truth of Him being in love with them is a solid rock they can stand on.

  2. christy rose

    Oh Wow! What a moving thing for a mommy's heart! To know that our children are confident in God's love brings so much joy and peace to our hearts. Thanks for sharing this! I loved it so much!

  3. Rosario

    Awesome. I sometimes feel like a child, asking why this? or what that? And the answers are there in the pages of the bible, but sometimes we are to blind spiritually that we do not see them or we are to busy to stop and listen to the answers God has for us. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Chris Godfredsen

    A particularly appropriate post today! Praying God gives mom and dad what they need to continue to answer those questions with your girls – and praying Abba Father answers the questions you have today, friend!

    Grace and Peace!

  5. Chris Godfredsen

    A particularly appropriate post today! Praying God gives mom and dad what they need to continue to answer those questions with your girls – and praying Abba Father answers the questions you have today, friend!

    Grace and Peace!

  6. patty

    I'm really good at questions. I ask LOTS of questions…all the time. Not so great with answers, but I excel at questions. Thankfully I grew up in a home much like Lydia is…where questions are encouraged and not having the answers all the time is ok.
    Praying for you, friend!
    love, Patty

  7. Betsy

    Hi Jennifer! I just got your comments today, I apologize for not asking for your permission before re-posting your posts…I have been using them to "get through" to some people in my life that don't understand my decision to follow Christ. I will contact you in the future if I want to use anymore of your stories again!!!

  8. Jennifer

    Thank you for sharing her answers with us! How uplifting!!

  9. Lyla Lindquist

    Best line of all (well, actually there were others that were better, but this is the one that slays me): The Bible asked. Don't know why, but I love that. The Bible is always asking me stuff. Stuff I can't answer.

    But Lydia has the most important question answered, hands down.

  10. Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus


    Thank you.

    Jesus said that those without sin could cast the first stone. Well, girl, I am NOT without sin, so I will not cast stones.

    Those who have been forgiven much, forgive much.

    I have been forgiven much … and often. Even today, I was the recipient of undeserved grace.

    And I forgive you as well. Fully.

    Let us continue to grow in grace. He loves us, and forgives us, and calls us to do the same.

  11. Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought

    How beautiful to read her answers on the page like that.

    I liked your sentence, the words like fists, sometimes. Yes, I agree. God knows every now and again I need a good smack down.
    ~ Wendy

  12. Jennifer

    That photo with the capital "N-O" on the page leaves me speechless. May she never ever question our Father's love.

  13. Doug Spurling

    "We sink deeper still into the Word. We try to find peace in the pieces — knowing God fits it all together with wood and nails on Calvary."
    That is just awesome.

    As you sink deeper It sinks deeper in you. Rooted and grounded. True treasure that cannot be stolen.

    Thank you.

  14. Sarah Dawn

    You encourage me friend, not only in your writing, but in your questions and the realness of your life. As a mommy, thank you, for reminding me to allow the hard questions, even if I don't know the answers.

    Blessings for your night,
    Sarah Dawn

  15. travelmom

    "And a little child shall lead them…" Amen! Great post Jennifer

  16. Monica Sharman

    Awesome. I am going to start my own mystery file.
    This reminds me of what Madeleine L'Engle said in THE SUMMER OF THE GREAT GRANDMOTHER: "The main progress is that I do not attempt to give an answer to an unanswerable question, but I do ask the question."
    And thank God, some questions *are* answerable with that rock-solid YES!

  17. Warren Baldwin

    You have some great insights. "Silent questions breed doubts." I've known that for years but never thought of stating it so succinctly. Thanks for sharing this.

    I'd like to quote a comment you made on the marriage article on Family Fountain on my next post. Please check it out later and let me know if that is ok.


  18. Anne L.B.

    Please tell Lydia for me that I think she is one cool 7 year old, and to keep those questions coming–and to keep on asking the Holy Spirit for the answers.

    You're awesome, Jennifer.

  19. Heidi

    That's so sweet and must have encouraged you greatly!

  20. elaine @ peace for the journey

    Training her well; living with the questions. We all need someone to sit beside us as we tend to our understanding about God and his great big world.

    She will be just fine.

    Thanks for writing your faith and for living it all the more.


  21. annkroeker

    Your post is so inspiring, I highlighted it at High Calling Blogs today. I hope lots of families sit down together and sort through the hard stuff together.

  22. Kelly Langner Sauer

    This post brings tears – it's the questions that teach us trust, the questions that show us how much His love means when He doesn't give us all the answers, when He is the answer…


  23. L.L. Barkat

    it is so good not to fear the questions… and so good to sit with them together… ponder… turn… wait..

  24. Jenni

    Oh. I could do so much better in this area. I fear my inability to answer the hard questions. I need to let Him worry about the answers…

  25. nAncY

    i love the big green answers.
    what a treat.


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