One day during an in-service for teachers, a guest lecturer made a startling statement. Students learn the most when they are asking questions, not when they are giving answers. The brain is engaged in a completely different way. It just clicked.
I began to test it out in my classroom and found it to be true. It was actually harder for them to compose good questions, harder because they had to think deeper about the material. In one of my classes, I scrapped the traditional quiz at times and made them write their own quizzes with their own questions. Even with books open, the students always told me these quizzes were harder to do.
And then I made the parallel leap one day. Perhaps it’s not just in the education of the mind. Perhaps it’s also true in the education of the heart and the soul. Maybe true progress comes by asking better questions. Maybe we get stuck in our walk with God, not because we don’t have the right answers but because we are not asking the right questions.
The book of Job shows that Job was asking the wrong question. He demanded to know why terrible things had happened to him and to make his defense before God. It took until the end of the story to realize that he was going about it the wrong way. Jesus refused to answer some of the questions forced on him. Instead, he would ask better questions back, often disturbing questions.
It’s not that having answers is bad. It’s just that until we ask better questions, we are not in a place to receive the better answers. Here are a few examples:
- “What’s going to happen to me next year?” gets replaced with this: “Father, how will you provide for me today?”
- “Why is this happening to me?” becomes this: “Lord, what are you trying to teach me about my heart in this?”
- “What is heaven really going to be like?” gets changed into this: “How can I enter more of heaven right now?”