"Always ask questions!" Mrs. Mulligan coached her third grade class before they filed into the Museum of Natural History.
"Why?" asked a wide-eyed cutie in the front row.
“Because that’s how we learn. And when people tell you something you’ve never heard before, ask, ‘How do you know that to be true?’ and they will tell you where they learned it.”
No sooner had they entered the museum than eight-year-old Molly sauntered up to a woman in a lab coat working on an exhibit.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m using my masonry hammer and chisel to chip away at this fossil.”
“Because I’m a paleontologist and that’s what we do.”
“What’s a Paley-ma-togamist?”
“A scientist who studies fossils and has a keen analytical mind, curiosity and imagination tempered by scientific rigor. . . and lots of patience. Especially with inquisitive little children. Now run along.” She turned back to her work.
“Excuse me, what’s a fossil?"
“It’s a very old trace of a life form. That one over there is over 30,000 years old.”
“How do you know that to be true?”
“Because we dated it using carbon-14, which along with the natural radioactivity of certain elemental isotopes is the best process for determining a fossil’s age.”
“How do you know that’s true?”
“Because different rates of radioactivity decay, and these rates are constant."
“How do you know that to be true?”
“Because Evolution says it is.”
“How do you know Evolution is true?”
“Because my third grade teacher told me so. Now go away!”
“How did she know it’s true?”
“Because some Paleontologist figured it out and told her, okay!”
“What’s a paley-ma—?”
With that, the woman threw her hammer down, ripped her lab coat off, and screamed, “I don’t know! I just work here!”
I love this story, based on a true account by Dr. Jeff Myers. It makes me laugh...and think...and stand amazed. What is it about well-ordered questions that’s so powerful?
And why are questions important? Could it be because Jesus Himself used thought-provoking questions--over 300 of them--to teach profound truths? Questions like,
"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" (Matthew 6:27)
"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3)
"Do you want to be well?" (John 5:6)
"Who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves?" (Luke 22:27)
...and hundreds more. I marvel how Jesus uses questions to probe the hardened recesses of a person’s soul. To open spiritual eyes. To challenge wrong thinking. To instruct hungry hearts. He questions his followers, his family, his friends, His foes.
And today, He may be asking you and me the hard questions, like He asked those with whom He longed for a deeper relationship, those He loved:
“Do you not yet understand or comprehend? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes and still not see?” (Mark 8:17-18)
He instructs us in His Word: Ask. Seek. Knock. And as we do, He opens the door for us to gain insight, wisdom, understanding, and hidden treasures. Can you fathom such a amazing gift?
So now, with open Bible, open minds, and open hearts, we ask one more thing of God, “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your Word” (Psalm 119:18). And He will.
"Make your ear attentive to wisdom, incline your heart to understanding, cry out for insight, raise your voice for understanding, seek it like silver, and search for it as for hidden treasures. Then, you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God" (Prov. 2: 2-5).
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