What are the right questions?
I identify an Enneagram 6. Named “the Loyalist”, Enneagram Sixes are known to be fiercely loyal, incredibly hardworking, and trustworthy. But those are just the positive attributes. A Core Fear of an Enneagram Six is being unprepared and unsupported. In an attempt to combat that fear, we try to anticipate everything that could possibly go wrong. This leads to the asking of a lot of very detail-oriented and specific questions, which definitely can get annoying to our nearest and dearest. (A quick note of gratitude to those who have experienced my sometimes intense line of questioning and have remained patient and kind.)
My conversations with God are a lot like that too. I say, well God, what about this? Or, no wait this? And then, this? Each potential answer can lead to at least 3 more questions. No wonder why God often remains silent! (just kidding)
In today’s Gospel, the Sadducees ask Jesus this specific question about marriage and the resurrection of the dead. Now, they were trying to test Jesus so their line of questioning was not coming from the same place as mine often do (theirs rooted in testing, mine rooted in preparation); but in some ways, the response by Jesus could be similar in both scenarios. Jesus essentially tells the Sadducees that these questions aren’t really important; they miss the bigger picture - the resurrection itself. My questions of God, too, often miss the bigger picture. My questions might not be harmful or with ill-intent, but they certainly aren’t always necessary. They might help me prepare for a million scenarios when only one of them will actually pan out (and usually it's a scenario I didn’t plan for). They might ease my mind for a moment, but only until more questions appear (and they always do). The questioning itself certainly isn’t bad, and neither are my worries. The point is that they cannot all ever be answered, and really they just miss the mark.
What is the bigger picture your questions are missing? Is it forgiveness? Is it love? Is it faith? Hope?
As a note, I believe that God welcomes our questions. God wants to hear our doubts and wonderings and frustrations. This is an important avenue in any relationship but especially in our relationship with God.
But God also isn’t afraid to tell us when our questions are not helpful, to redirect us to the important piece of our faith. Sit with your questions, even the detailed ones, acknowledge them, and then try to let them go as best as possible. Focus on the big picture things that are certain - God is with you, especially in your questioning.