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Is It Okay to Question God?

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Many of us have been taught that asking “why?” is considered backtalk. We’ve been taught that when authority speaks, we are not to ask questions but instead act as told. The Bible can even seem to back that up. I mean, just look at what happened to Zechariah.

Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.”

Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God. It was he who sent me to bring you this good news! But now, since you didn’t believe what I said, you will be silent and unable to speak until the child is born. For my words will certainly be fulfilled at the proper time” (Luke 1:18-20 NLT).

Poor Zechariah, right? I mean, he just asked a question, or was it much more? Hmmm. Let’s keep reading. Later in the same chapter, Mary questions an angel.

Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”

The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. For the word of God will never fail.”

Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her (Luke 1:34-38).

In this case, the angel explains to Mary the promise of God. 

So, why the difference? I think it is because Zechariah asked out of a heart of disbelief, and Mary asked in faith for more insight.

For many years now, I have seen my private time with God as time to gain understanding. I ask Him many things and have learned so much that way. Questions like:

  • What does this Scripture mean?
  • Why did this happen?
  • What did I do to cause this?
  • What is Your plan for this situation?
  • And many more.

Many times, God has been gracious and answered me.

He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth (John 14:17a).

Other times He tells me that it is not for me to know. Either way, I trust Him.

So, back to these two stories. What can we learn? Let’s take away from them the idea that asking is not the issue. The issue is—do we believe? 

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do (James 1:5-8).

Mary’s faith was in God. Zechariah’s faith wavered. Let’s be like Mary, curious and trusting in the Lord.

Let’s pray: Father, help us to trust You and hear You and never doubt Your Word. Amen.


Scripture is quoted from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. 

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About The Author

Lina Johnson

Lina began working in the CBN Prayer Center in 2009. She enjoys spending time with her sons, their wives, and her grandchildren. Lina loves sharing Jesus with anyone who will listen, and her favorite Scripture is Zephaniah 3:17.

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