A friend asked me what question-if I were afforded only one-I would ask of God. It was an innocent enough query, insofar as questions can be innocent, which perhaps they never can. After all, we often ask questions when we are dissatisfied, which is to say when we feel we haven't faith left to breathe, to hold on one more day.
At least that's when we ask questions of God, or at least when I ask Him questions. Is there anything I might ask God that isn't rooted in rebellion?
Those questions pile up over a lifetime:
"Why didn't you . . . ?"
"When will you . . . ?"
"Why won't you . . . ?"
"Why can't I . . . ?"
And sometimes, "How could you?"
I wouldn't tell her the question I intend to ask, if such impertinence is tolerated in the heavenly kingdom, if such inquisitiveness is part of the nature we are intended to have, rather than the corruption we have borne forth. That one is between me and the Lord, and it gets right to the very heart of the mystery of suffering, for this father.
But I suggested a good question to ask, namely: "Why didn't you fix it right away?" Why the banishment from the Garden, and the long bloody path through a brutal world strewn with the broken works of man?
The theologians have answers. Some are neatly, systematically deduced, the way one might build a mathematics proof. Others elide the question, restating it as a self-evident truth. I've seen enough theologians confidently answer enough questions that contradict one another to suspect that some answers will have to wait.
But maybe it won't occur to us to ask questions when we are there. I can't imagine that. How breathtaking must such a place be, to make us forget our lifetimes of pain, our lifetimes of wondering why it had to be the way it has been, for you, for me?
Beyond description. Beyond question.