More Curious Than Certain

(This post was originally published on the Baptist Convention of New England’s blog on March 4, 2019. You can find it here.)

“To be, or not to be?” “What’s love got to do, got to do, with it?” “Aren’t you a little short for a Stormtrooper?”

Questions have always held a deep fascination for me, but pretty early on I learned to stick to what’s known and acceptable. I’d be doing just fine, marching along to everybody else’s drum, when that dang inquisitive streak—the one that made Sunday school teachers constantly run for cover—would raise its hand. Little me figured out that periods bring relief, while question marks bring consternation.

I was recently surprised by a sweet, wild gift: an encouragement to be more curious than certain. I rolled it around in my brain until it developed lustrous layers like a pearl, this statement that claims curiosity could be more of a blessing than the rules that guard me from being “too much.” What I’d come to consider a handicap might actually be a superpower.

Interestingly, Jesus is probably the most curious individual Scripture mentions. Think about all of the eyebrows He must have raised with those pesky 300 questions He posed throughout the gospels! Of course the Lord understood the depths of the human heart, but that didn’t stop Him from asking. To meet Christ was almost to be met with a question.

Certainty can be energizing when channeled correctly. I’m certain that there is a Hero (and that I’m not Him). That the end of all things will be so, so good. That the Father still runs to the wayward kid and still runs to the one trying to earn a spot at the table. That as absurd as it sounds, I’m fully known and fully loved. That my Big Brother isn’t going anywhere.

Curiosity serves to open up what I’m certain of. If I know I’m walking to glory along a line of beauty and brokenness, what does the beauty look like? What does the brokenness look like? How can I walk to glory in the middle of both in a way that makes much of Christ?

Let’s pretend you’ve been grumpy today. (Weirder things have happened, right?) Certainty would either direct you completely inward or completely outward. It might point to your own nastiness, blaming and bullying, rehearsing a litany of your past failings, heaping shame on your head for all the hurt you’ve caused. Or it could accuse other people or circumstances, creating a victim mentality and ushering in a bit of resentment. Certainty ends the sentence with an unfeeling, unmoving period.

Curiosity sits down and puts its arm around your grumpy heart, reminding you of true things: that because of the cross, you have nothing to hide, nothing to fear, and nothing to prove. Then it gently asks what’s going on. Where did the grumpiness start? What was it reacting to? How can you lay it down and move forward in freedom and joy? What relational repairs might God be inviting you to make?

And then, waist-deep in your conversation with curiosity, you realize that, once again, Jesus is using questions to draw hearts to Himself. But this time, it’s yours.

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