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Looking for Answers?

How many times a week do you say the now-familiar words, "I'll just Google it!"? When we want information and we want it quickly, we tap into the WEB - the World's Electronic Brain. But some of our deepest questions in life don't have answers that are accessible within seconds of activating a search. Some of our most problematic questions may not have answers at all.

Youngsters are notorious for asking "why?" about most everything as their world expands with experience. We oldsters - while mellowing about many things with a degree of acceptance - still ponder the "why" behind much in life. When our heads and hearts bump up against our mortal limitations, we often wrestle. Is it frustration we feel? Outright anger? Sadness? Bitterness? We humans like the comfort of answers. We prefer crisp, clean definitive lines over the blur of greyish shadows. We find data reassuring. Evidence encourages our confidence. It's only reasonable to look for answers after all. No wonder we adore Google. And no wonder we get aggravated with God.

Religion has its share of claiming to have answers. Some people view the Bible as the source of every answer to all of life's questions. Many see their prayer life as the conduit for clearcut solutions. Under the influence of the gift of God's Spirit we can receive guidance and direction for our lives sure enough. But much in the journey we call faith slides beyond the edge of clarity into the cloud of mystery. In the Scriptures, God sometimes answers but far more often promises. In the Gospels, Jesus seldom answers but usually tells stories that ask additional questions. One thing that seems clear is that when God gives the gift of faith, we can only receive it and use it in trust. Google that and see what you get.

Perhaps there is a turning point as we journey. We don't spend as much energy looking for answers as we do living in trust. We make fewer demands of God because we have stewed in the juices of desire for God. When reading Scripture, we search less for the "why" and more for the "who." Our prayer path widens with more space for silence and sighs, and we take to heart the wise (albeit dated) words of a preacher who said, "The one thing you can be sure of is that down the path you beat with even your most half-cocked and halting prayer the God you call upon will finally come, and even if he does not bring you the answer you want, he will bring you himself. And maybe at the secret heart of all our prayers that is what we are really praying for." (Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking).

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