Having grown up in the church, there existed a certain expectation on my life to live, act, and speak in a certain way. With good intentions, the Church taught me more about how to be a good person than they did about Jesus himself. I knew all the right things, but if you pressed me on why we did things a certain way or why I followed a list of rules, I would not have been able to articulate it. As a result, as I got older I had a lot of questions about things of the faith and was increasingly frustrated when people of the church could not give me answers. As I ventured deeper into my understanding of the Bible, I found a God who was not afraid of questions but often posed them Himself. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus is continually asking his followers and bystanders questions about why they do the things they do and using them as launching pads for His teachings. He was not setting out to just teach them to memorize a load of information, but rather to truly know it and to be stirred to action on a deep level.
It is through this journey in my own life and coming to see Jesus’ invitation to question that I have delighted in being able to open the door to teenagers who may be in a similar place I was. Recently, the Spiritual Life team took the opportunity to do just that. We sat down with the students of Compass Rose Academy and opened the floor for them to ask questions of the faith. We did not promise to hold all the answers but rather to be students of the Word with them and to commit to seeking and discovering answers together.
The students did not shy away from presenting questions on sin, the second coming, and why the world is the way that it is. In a world that is ravished by the impact of sin in the life of humanity, it was clear they struggled (as most of us do) to grasp a God who claimed all power and yet would not fix the problems in the world. Why would He even allow the opportunity for sin, and if the new world will be the redeemed version of this world what prevents us from falling right back into the temptation of sin? The Bible speaks about how Lucifer was a creation of God gone wrong, why did he not destroy him, and what prevents another angel from taking the same route as Lucifer? Often as adults, we do not give our teenagers enough credit for the deepness and the seriousness of their thoughts, but the world does. While we are trying to quiet the questions and encourage them to just do as we say, the world is teaching them a narrative that is vastly different and is willing to interact with all their questions. This is where things go catastrophically wrong. Often hiding behind the shield of “just have faith” or fear of saying the wrong thing, we brush away real and hard questions, and in that absence of answers the world gladly picks up the slack. It is here that we have given our culture and the world around us the ability to answer their questions and define their worldview. The world asks them to look within themselves for all answers, while the Bible challenges us to look to Christ for all answers.
Open-ended opportunities with teenagers can sometimes lead to a room full of awkward silence. I have been increasingly encouraged that when it comes to questions of the faith, there is rarely silence in the room at Compass Rose. When students come with a sincere heart to seek and know and be genuine in their questions, I have full confidence in God to show up and do a work in their hearts. While the Spiritual Life team is far from claiming all the answers on the Bible, we do confidently claim the name of the one who holds all answers, Jesus Christ. Sometimes He actively chooses to reveal those to us in the form of who He is, other times He asks us to trust and walk the journey step-by-step. Regardless, the opportunity to ask, seek, and know, is always an open door to those who do so with a sincere heart, and we are gifted to do it alongside the students here at Compass Rose.
~By LilyAnn Matchett, CRA Student Chaplain