Christian Comment - Oct 2018
Whenever I can, I enjoy spending time with a certain five-year-old. He comes out with some very funny things. For example, he has been told not, under any circumstances to say the 'F' word. When I was singing a song in which the 'F' word appeared, a song about five f*t sausages sizzling in a pan, I got told off good and proper.
And then there are the questions, some of them quite personal. 'Why does your tummy do that?' 'Why have you got a spot on your nose?' And the more usual ones. 'Why must I?', 'What’s that for?', 'Why do you do that?' It really can be quite exhausting, and often by the time I have finished giving him an answer, we're on to the next one. In fact, I suspect he thinks his questions are far more interesting than my answers. He's probably right.
I read somewhere that a curious four-year-old asks about 73 questions a day! That's a lot of questions! Quite understandably, providing answers can be a bit much, especially when some of the questions are: 'Where did I come from?' 'What does, 'We can’t afford it!' mean?', 'What is God?', 'Why can’t I stay up as late as you?', 'Why do people die?', and 'Why does Granny have a beard?'. These are good questions, with tricky answers. No wonder parents rely on Google.
So, what happens as we get older? Do we stop asking questions like that? Or do we let the questions float unanswered inside our heads? Or do we think that because we are older we ought to know the answers? Or do we stop asking them out loud because we don't know who to ask - or because we may not like the answer. When did you last ask, 'What is God?', 'Why was I made?', 'What will happen when I die?' (and this is a personal one) 'Why does Granny have a beard?' - and I know I don’t like the answer!
There's a story in the Bible in which a young man asks Jesus a question. It's a good question. It's the best question in the world, and Jesus is the right person to ask. The question is, 'What must I do to get eternal life?' (Mark 10:17 Msg) - and Jesus gives him the answer. It's a full answer. And it's an answer that is just what the young man needs to hear. But he doesn't like it, and he goes away disappointed. I'd like to ask Jesus lots of things. I do ask Jesus lots of questions. Many years ago, I asked Jesus the same question as the young man. At the time I wasn't too impressed with the answer! But now I know it was exactly the answer I needed to hear, and it's the same answer Jesus gave to the young man, 'Come, follow me.'
Rev'd Stephanie Gordon-Jeffs
Rector, Exe Valley Mission Community