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It has been a joy to disciple several women here at Iglesia Bautista el Faro (Beacon Baptist Church) in El Progreso, Honduras. Two women are currently working through an official discipleship manual with me, and others simply ask for tips on how they can study their Bible, so I give them "homework" that we later discuss together.
Recently I gave one young lady (a few months younger than I) a homework assignment in addition to the discipleship manual. She was to read the first chapter of Genesis and come back with questions - any questions - she had about the chapter. The goal is to encourage her to think about what she's reading: If the answers to her questions are found elsewhere in the Bible, I want to show her how to find those answers. If the answers are found in science, history, or cultural studies, I want to go there together. And, if no one knows the answer for sure, I want her to learn and think about the possible answers.
Sure enough, last Friday she came to my home with her Bible in hand. As I grabbed her a glass of water and we made ourselves comfortable, I asked her what she had thought of Genesis. Her answer, after a slight pause, surprised me.
"My first question is... if God made the world, then who made God?"
She then quickly half-apologized for asking it, but, honestly, I was impressed she had the guts to ask it at all: In a predominantly Catholic country, even suggesting that one doubts the existence of God is taboo. One would rather be called a witch than an atheist, it seems, and religious vocabulary is part of everyday conversation. (The Spanish phrase for "thankfully" is, literally, "thanks to God.")
I was more than impressed... actually, I was thrilled. This was exactly what I was looking for: someone who was willing to think outside the box, who was willing to ask questions even when they weren't culturally acceptable.
I excitedly went on to explain the concept of a "first cause" (you can read more about this subject here), and, deep down, thanked God for answering this question in my life as a young teenager. I prayed now that God would help me choose my Spanish words carefully. As she listened her face relaxed, then smiled, as I assured her her question was both common and valid. I made sure she understood, and we moved to her next question.
I've observed that there are two types of people that ask hard questions. Those who truly are wanting to learn; and those who have no desire to change, but rather are trying to stump those who would "convert" them. Which one are you? Or do you fall into a third category... those who have no questions, as they are content with their present knowledge of God and the Bible, with no desire to know Him more? May we be willing to ask more questions - hard questions, if necessary - and then do the work it takes to answer them.
"Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths." Psalms 25:4
Please pray for this disciple, "A" as I encourage her in her walk with God.
May God bless each of you.