This past Sunday at church, we had a guest speaker. Craig Fowler and his family are missionaries with CMF Ethiopia. Our church has been sponsoring them for a number of years. Todays message spoke to me on a more personal level than some of the other times he came to speak. It sounds kind of crazy when I word it that way since I always get something out of the sermons at my church.
I’m not going to go into too much detail on his sermon. If you weren’t there, you missed an awesome sermon. It is posted on my churches youtube channel and you can listen to it. Listen to Craig Fowlers Sermon. You can also read their newsletter by following this link. At the bottom of the page, there is a link that say’s “Newsletter“.
Sometimes as we look around at the world we can’t help but ask question. Such as , “how can God be allowing all of these things to happen?” There are times when I look at my life and wonder about this also. In the news we are seeing hate crimes against groups that we don’t agree with. Recently it is the 49 killed at a gay bar and other mass killings. Not long ago there was the person who went into a church and opened fire and killed innocent people during a Bible study. I can’t help but wonder where God is when all these things are going on. I would think any normal person would ask that. Well, unless I’m not normal, and I’m OK with that too.
Have you ever asked “why would God put me through this? People in general have a way of questioning anything and everything. There are those who enjoy looking at people and calling them out rather than looking at their own lives. There are also some who believe that to question the Bible, God’s direction, or even God Himself is nothing short of blasphemy or a sign of disbelief.
- Luke 11 – “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened
Craig’s message was about how he has been going through a hard time when it comes to believing there is a God and he has been questioning his faith. I found his message refreshing and honest. One that I would think many have dealt with. The Fowlers are missionaries to the Gumuz People in Ethiopia. Before the Fowlers moved there to start-up the medical clinic and began sharing the Gospel with those who probably never heard about God. Lately they have been helping them with obtaining clean water by building water wells. I take for granted the things we have, but because of missionaries like the Fowlers, I am extremely grateful and blessed.
Over the years, they would speak about what the Gumuz people believed in and their experiences. The Fowlers were surrounded by people who was practicing witch doctors and into voodoo. They probably never laid eyes on white people. The Fowlers lived among these people for 11 yrs. They live in conditions that many of us would never ever want to be around. They didn’t and for the most part don’t have modern facilities that we have become accustomed to.
Craig and Allison have 3 beautiful children that have been raised around the Gumuz Tribe. I have always wanted to do missions and for the most part because of missionaries like the Fowlers. When I look at some of the pictures and hear about all they are doing, I feel blessed and honored to know them. Many believe that you must go out of the country to do mission work, which isn’t true. Over the 11 yrs that they lived there, they have planted 15 plus churches, trained the Gumuz leaders to teach the Word of God. They have also made it possible for the Gumuz can take care of their needs medically. They have medical personnel and church leaders.
Even though we weren’t there with them on the mission field, it is awesome to support in prayer and financial support. They will still be in Ethiopia and will still be missionaries. Craig will be heading CMF International in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia working with missionaries in these remote areas. While God is opening new doors for the Fowlers, supporting them in prayer and financial support is a continued need.
They will have different roles now, which is awesome. I believe that we all live in a mission field. You don’t have to live in a remote village in order to be missionaries for Christ.
Now, back to today’s message from Craig Fowler. As a believer in God, is it OK to question God or challenge HIm about what He is doing in my life.
I personally don’t feel it is wrong to question God. Even the prophet Habakkuk had questions for God. In the Psalms we find that there are many questions asked of God. These questions were more like cries and worries of those who were persecuted and desperate for God’s salvation and intervention. We may not get the answers we want, we can conclude from these passages that when we are sincere in our questioning that they are welcomed by God.
Some of the questions that are covered by the Psalmist are;
- “Why, O LORD, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” (Psalms 10:1)
- “Why have you forgotten me?” (Psalms 42:9b)
- “Why do you forget our affliction and oppression?” (Psalms 44:24b)
- “How long, O God, is the foe to scoff? Is the enemy to revile your name forever?” (Psalms 74:10)
There are many times when I have questioned God or have doubted. I felt guilty that I would even have any doubts. I honestly don’t think that an honest question or concern is a sin, but a bitter and rebellious heart is. God isn’t intimidated by our questions. I would think that when we “question God,” it should be with an open heart and a humble spirit. Throughout my life, I have come to the conclusion that unless I am genuinely asking and willing to open my heart, then He will answer my questions or concerns, but in His time. I would think that my heart condition is what determines if it is right or wrong to ask questions.
I know I’ve asked these questions many times throughout my life and then I stop myself from having questions. I guess the reason I have tried to stop having these type of questions is out of guilt and shame. I shouldn’t be questioning God because that would say I have no faith in Him as some have pointed out. People or fellow Christians are fast to point out how you can’t be a Christian if you question God or my faith is wavering.
They often challenge God about what is going on in their own lives, the struggles they are facing and they also look around them and question why wicked men seem to flourish and God’s people seem to be in trouble.
So, again, is it OK to ask questions?
Yes! We can ask questions. As we have seen from the Psalms, questioning God and trusting Him go together. I would think that God is the right one to ask because He is the one who is in control. Anytime I have questioned Him, I have found that
Yes! But in the right way. We’re not to accuse God of doing wrong, or to act like we know better than him. But we’re to honestly approach Him with our questions and the things that are on our heart as we seek to live for Him.
And remember, as we’ve seen from the Psalms, questioning God and trusting Him go hand-in-hand. I would think that He’s the right one to ask, because Gods the One in control. If we can’t ask questions, than I’m in a boatload of trouble since I am always asking questions. It isn’t as if I don’t trust what I read in the Bible or hear what He says. I figure for the most part it is because I’m not fully understanding what it is that He is saying.
I really appreciated Craig Fowlers sermon today. I also enjoy Pastor Rays sermons. The reason why I enjoy them is that while I may not always like what they saying, I know it is important to learn more about what God has to say. Pastor Dean use to say before difficult sermon topics to, ” don’t shoot the messenger”. And I think many times people get upset and throw temper tantrums because they don’t like what God or what pastors are saying. There are times I may not agree and during those times, I turn to God’s Word and I ask what the pastor is saying. They also don’t like it when they are called out for doing things that we do. I’m not a fan of being called out on my sins, but it is important.
Today’s sermon was important and not an easy one I am sure. But for me it spoke to my heart in more than one way.