A Moment to Reflect

20 June 2020

A Moment to Reflect – 47


“I’ve often said that those who say having a childlike faith means not asking questions haven’t met too many children.” ― Rachel Held Evans, Inspired: Slaying Giant, Walking on Water and Loving the Bible Again

Although frustrated in the current pandemic that I cannot hug my grandchildren, every day I savour the delight and privilege of being a grandfather. I think when you’re a parent you are sometimes far too busy raising them and meeting all their needs to stop and reflect on just what precious gifts your children are… and always will be.

When I was a child, I was forever asking questions.

I was born and brought up in Port Glasgow on the River Clyde at a time when there was still a lot of traffic on the river. On Sunday afternoons when we went to visit my grandmother—and we were not allowed to go out and play because it was Sunday— I would kneel on a chair at the window of my grandmother’s house and look out on the river to watch the boats go by. By the age of 6 or 7, I think I could identify most of the different pleasure steamers that plied up and down the channel— like the Waverley, the Jeanie Deans and the Queen Mary etc.

But my fascination with the river traffic had begun much earlier than that. Apparently when I was just a toddler my Aunt Mary was taking me out in the pushchair (you didn’t call them buggies in those days.) She was pushing me up a steep brae and I kept asking her question after question about everything I could see around me, “what kind of bird is that? what kind of car is that?” etc

And then I spotted a vessel making its way up the channel and I asked, “Auntie Mary, is that a dredger or a hopper?”She replied with slight exasperation, “Och, I don’t know, son.”

To which, apparently, I responded with a sigh, “Auntie Mary, you don’t know anything!”

Nowadays, of course, you can just “google” it­ and the answer will be out there somewhere, and you’ll know almost instantly.

Except… Google cannot answer the kind of questions that really matter— does God exist? or care? what is life about? is there hope? what the future will bring? etc.

As Rachel Held Evans reminds us, to have a truly childlike faith, of the kind Jesus advocated, is not about having all the answers or having certainty about everything (or even anything) it is about being willing to ask your questions and to wrestle with them …and not let go. Quite a few of the Psalms show us how.