Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. (1 Peter 3:15)
Christians are taught to be prepared to give an answer when faced with a question, curiosity, or challenge. But being prepared to give an answer doesn’t mean our answers are always set in concrete. We’re human. We grow, change, question, settled in (sometimes too much). Sure, there are times when the answer is clear and certain, but I think much of the time we oversimplify and give an answer to a question someone doesn’t even ask. We don’t listen well enough to be able to answer well. And even when we think we listen well, we look for an answer that might fit instead of the answer that fits best.
Sometimes the answer is another question.
There have been many times in my faith journey that I’ve given a concrete response, because certainty seems reassuring. It gives a sense of security. But that sense of security is a deceptive one. Just because we think we understand doesn’t mean we do. Just because we’ve been taught something or have interpreted something doesn’t make us completely right. Sometimes we burrow into a snippet of truth so intensely that we fail to explore the full breadth of truth.
Faith is about trust, and trust has to do with a Who more than What. I don’t trust my faith. I trust who is at the center of my faith: Jesus. So, I guess I am prepared to give an answer for my hope. My hope is Jesus, plain and simple. But just to be clear, just because I know the core of my hope is Jesus, it doesn’t mean I have an answer for everything. It certainly doesn’t mean I understand everything. I can give you an answer for why there is pain in the world, why innocent people get hurt, why injustices seem to go unpunished, and so on, but I don’t completely understand those things, so I’ll hesitate to give you an answer, knowing whatever I offer will be insufficient. I know Jesus gets it all, and I trust Him. But it doesn’t make answers easy. It doesn’t make life easy. And it doesn’t make faith easy.
But He makes trust easier, because He is always trustworthy.