Not Knowing and Asking
June 1, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Not knowing is uncomfortable. Even creates anxiety. In John 16, the disciples could not understand the meaning of Jesus’ words (16:16-18). And Jesus does not seem to be in any hurry either to give them very clear sound bites that will satisfy their apparent desire for simple answers. He answered their questions by just piling on more parables in a manner of “speaking figuratively” (16:20-22). It is as if he wants to make them comfortable with a lifestyle of asking and teach them how to live faithfully in the midst of not knowing everything as clearly as they may have wanted to. He promised them that it will not be like that forever: “Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father” (16:25). And yet, he does not leave them without any clues whatsoever. When he said, “I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father”, they responded, “now you are speaking clearly and without figure of speech” (16:28-29). Many times we fall for the temptation to domesticate God with our certitudes of knowing. What is supposed to be rooms of discernment – rooms in which we ask questions and wrestle with others on what God is up to – quickly become rooms in which we shoot at each other with our bullets of knowledge. May God bless us today with attitudes of discernment rather than postures of certitude.