It's early morning and C-SPAN is rebroadcasting a congressional hearing from the night before. The man before the subcommittee is peppered with questions – some he can answer, some he can't. He says he'll report back.
A couple of hours later, the day at the office begins with a phone call. The voice on the other end has a question, one that will take some digging to answer. Research begins.
At lunch, a brisk read of the newspaper raises a raft of questions – big questions – on issues that affect lives across the ocean as well as across town. Questions about national security, matters of health, emergency preparedness, and the economy. People are struggling to find answers.
This is a good sign.
Questions are agents of advancement. Tackling a question begins to move us out of darkness. Even rhetorical questions can prod us to become engaged and think more deeply. Asking questions shouldn't be associated with ignorance, but rather with taking a step out of ignorance.
There's an important spiritual dimension here, as well. How many times a day do people stop what they're doing when faced with a difficult question, and turn their attention to God for an answer? Oftentimes these appeals to the Creator are silent – and, deep from within.
This outreach to a Supreme Being is natural. Intuitively, perhaps not even knowing Spirit as the all-giving source of intelligence and love, people place their trust in God for help. They might draw strength from some passage in the Bible, such as the Lord's assurance to Isaiah: "Before they call, I will answer" (65:24). Or from God's demand that where darkness pervaded there was to be light – and there it was (see Gen. 1:2, 3).
Practical, just-right answers also come through reading the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, especially her signature work, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." But Science and Health also asks a lot of questions. Over 500 of them, such as: "What are the motives for prayer?" And then, a few paragraphs later: "God is Love. Can we ask Him to be more?"
Questions also prompt inquisitiveness, a desire for light or clarification. They urge us to go deeper and get better acquainted with something we know little or nothing about. Imagine if we didn't ask questions. We'd take things at face value, not necessarily understanding how or why they are what they appear to be. We might not learn how something like prayer works.
It's hard to imagine delving too deeply into Christian Science without raising lots of questions. How does this Science work? Can I heal? What should I do if ...? Lots of what-if questions. But unlike fearful speculations, these questions are good for us. Grappling with them fosters spiritual growth, making us dig for answers, demand answers.
What about questions we feel uncomfortable asking or being asked? Some might shy away from sensitive social or political questions, for instance, or religious ones. Yet an honest inquiry on difficult issues helps us grapple with complex or sensitive issues. Honestly inquiring helps us see light right where it seems there is none.
This is what questions demand of us. They may put us on a steep learning curve. They may mean more prayer and spiritual study than we're accustomed to. But we will always be invigorated and rewarded by our efforts. With answers comes authority. Prayerful answers eliminate ignorance and fear. And with that kind of authority, we can not only answer the questions, but we can heal the issues that prompted a search for answers in the first place. We can see the Principle of the universe at work in our lives and in the world around us. Everyone benefits.
First published as an editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel.