By John Fischer
I was reunited with an old college classmate this weekend. We were both in the 1969 graduating class at Wheaton College, a Christian college in Illinois founded in 1860. He shared a humorous story with me about how a number of years ago, he got a chance to visit with Hudson T. Armerding — the man we lovingly referred to as “Hud,” who was the president of the college when we were students. Dr. Armerding confided in him that of the seventeen years that marked his presidency, we were definitely the worst class.
I have to admit; it is a distinction of which I am quite proud, because I am pretty sure what he meant by “worst.” He meant we had a high concentration of rowdy, non-conforming, troublemakers among us. In other words, we gave the administration a hard time. And though I’m sure some of it was unnecessary and non-productive, at its core there was an underlying hunger for truth among my peers at that time. We wanted to know what was really going on in the upper echelons of power. We did not accept easy answers. We did not come to college to fill up blank notebooks with knowledge. We came with lots of questions. I can see where we would have caused administrators lots of grief, but I know a different story from some of the professors during that time. A number of them have told me they found our class to be among the best.
When students ask questions, it generally means they are hungry for answers, and that is a very good thing. It also means they might be thinking for themselves which will inevitably make for a much deeper ownership of the values and truths they are learning. Most teachers will tell you it is actually the troublemakers who will go on to make a significant impact on their culture.
Oswald Chambers has said that we don’t truly own our faith unless we have struggled over it in some form. Belief is not pure acceptance. God desires interaction and He revels in our working through the process of believing Him. He wrestled with Jacob and even let him win.
So don’t be afraid to question. Even doubt is a legitimate step in the process of faith. God welcomes the serious questioner. It means we care enough to persist in finding the answers we need. The person who is threatened by questions has much too small of an understanding of God.
Is it any surprise that the year of the “worst” class at Wheaton College was also the beginning of the greatest spiritual revival of our generation in this country? Nor has it escaped at least my notice that the latest crop of college freshmen doesn’t seem to be completely satisfied with the status quo.
Question: Do you use your questions to bring you closer to God?
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JOHN FISCHER, as Senior Writer with PurposeDrivenLife.com, has specialized in a daily devotional that now reaches an audience of over 400,000 people five times a week. John’s career spans over thirty-five years of distinctive ministry, first as a singer/songwriter, recording artist and pioneer of\ Jesus Music, then as a best-selling author, and currently as a popular speaker at conferences, retreats, churches and colleges/universities nationally.
You can contact John at: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website: http://www.fischtank.com/ft/about.cfm