Have you ever had something make you nervous enough that you just didn’t want to think about it? A test in school? A project at work? A conversation you needed to have with someone close to you? Have you noticed how important everything else becomes when there’s something you don’t want to think about or work on? Your desk needs organized. Your kitchen needs cleaned. Home projects you’ve put off for years become pressing. You may even exercise (or at least map out the mother of all exercise plans). Anything but facing the thing you actually need to be spending time on. Not necessarily because you can’t do what you’re avoiding, but because of how thinking about it makes you feel.
No one likes to feel stressed. We’ll do whatever it takes to avoid it. The bigger the stressor, the more we’re likely to avoid it. The bigger and more important the question, the more we may avoid doing what it takes to find the answer. So we’re scared to take that pregnancy test for fear the results will be negative and we’ll be disappointed again. We put off that medical test that might explain symptoms that could be nothing, but that in the back of our mind we’re worried might be cancer.
But what about the questions everything else depends on? What if we avoid the questions that would help us understand the purpose and meaning of our very lives? What if our fears keep us from pursuing the answers that would change the lives of everyone we know and love? What if we let ourselves face the evidence and it turns out there is no God? Or what if it turns out there is, and our whole lives are based on the wrong things? What if we know we’d have to change everything if God turned out to be real? Why don’t most of us spend our whole lives seeking the answer to this one question? Could there actually be anything more important? Anything that could affect our lives more?
Of course, it’s possible to tell ourselves we’re looking, but still not be open to finding answers that aren’t the ones we’re looking for. In John 5:39, Jesus told Jewish leaders that even though they searched the scriptures constantly, in fact the very scriptures that testified about him, they still had not found him. Jesus was not the answer they were looking for. They had too much invested in a different answer; a different kind of savior.
We may smile our knowing superior smile, because they didn’t see what was right in front of them. But what factors may blind us to the truths in front of us? What may keep us from looking at the evidence? What social pressures may prevent us from expressing the answers we do begin to find, particularly if those around us would no approve?
I mentioned in my last post that everything comes back to beginnings. For me, that’s the foundation of my faith. The starting point for everything else. The simple truth that we exist, that anything exists. And that things that exist have a source. Who, or what, is that source? Where does the evidence take us? Do we have the courage for the search? And if the evidence does point to an answer, are we willing to accept it?