A Kingdom-Centered Website for Questioners – Part 2

by Stephen Trout


Lauren Whitman’s daughter was excited about her class hike through a nature preserve – until her glasses disappeared. 

She’d hung them on her collar in order to peer through her binoculars; but when the hike was over, the glasses were gone. To make matters worse, a sudden downpour swept in, making it even less likely the glasses would be found!

Afterward, Lauren recalls their conversation:

“…as she and I trudged along the muddy paths, I was trying to carry the mantle of hopefulness for our little two-member search party. “Look along the edges of the path!” “Keep praying!” “Keep your eyes on the ground!” 

But when we reached the end of the route that her class had traversed without spotting the glasses, discouragement started to set in.”

Can’t we relate? What a perfect metaphor for the journey of faith: we’re moving along fine, enjoying the scenery. Suddenly trouble comes. Things get cloudy; we lose our vision.

Such experiences are common to us all. But what we do next – as Lauren notes – isn’t always approved – either by us, or others. 

“As we turned around to go the same way back and comb back over the same terrain, my daughter’s questions started.

“Why doesn’t God just send angels to show us where the glasses are?”

Good question! “He certainly could do that,” I replied cheerfully.  

A few minutes later: “Why doesn’t God just end all the sin in the world right now?”

A deeper question—and much harder to answer! I could see her logic: a hardship like losing your glasses is connected to a world that isn’t fully redeemed.

We continued to talk and look, look and chat. And when we found the glasses several minutes later—yes, we found them!—I noticed that I felt a little disappointed. 

We were happy, of course, but a simultaneous feeling of disappointment after receiving the blessing of an answered prayer? Curious. Yet I understood it: finding her glasses meant we’d now head home and switch gears. With the glasses found, the tension she had been wrestling with— We’re praying. I know God can answer, but will he?—was resolved. 

My disappointment indicated just how much I valued that she was asking questions about her faith—so much so that I would’ve gladly kept looking for the glasses to give her more time to wrestle with that tension!”

Questions & Wrestling are Scripture’s Model

For many, expressing questions about God’s ways in our lives can seem like a weakness. “If you were really walking in faith,” they say, “you’d respond differently. Say ‘Praise the Lord anyway,’ and move on.”

But is that really what we’re called to? Are we meant to just passively or stoically accept whatever comes our way, without ever voicing our pain, or processing aloud what God is doing? 

Whitman says that on the contrary, questions (like her daughter’s) are actually a sign of honest engagement with God, and of being human. 

Do we question this? Notice the numerous examples in Scripture that show God’s people – and even the perfect human, Christ himself (“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”) – questioning in the midst of suffering and pain. 

God includes questions like these in His Word, Whitman notes, to validate emotional engagement: 

“Why, Lord do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” (Psalm 10:1–2)

“How long, O Lord, will you forget me forever? (Psalm 13:1)

“How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?” (Habakkuk 1:2)

“Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?” (Habakkuk 1:3)

Our Ministry and Website

As we saw last week, we all have questions about God’s ways and his love, our guilt and shame, and whether we’ll be accepted. They’re natural in a fallen world.

Loneliness and despair may be understandable apart from knowing God as Father; yet even believers can “lose their glasses” and struggle with difficult providences.

In addition, we are strugglers with sin, often doing the things we don’t want to do (as Paul himself said in Romans 7). 

Yes, it’s true that there is no condemnation in Jesus (Romans 8) – but are we honest about the struggle? Do we validate for others?

So we need to ask a pertinent question: Do we make space – in our relationships as well as on our websites – for those kinds of questions?

  • Are you feeling alone? 
  • Hopeless? 
  • At the end of your rope? 
  • Helpless, possibly in the face of injustice?
  • What are you struggling with, and believing about your situation?

Perhaps we don’t ask because we’re not ready for the answers!

And so we opt for a glittering image of Christianity, everyone smiling and happy, all the time. And if they’re not, well they just need to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” and fix things.

This is hardly an honest portrayal of the Christian life – life in God’s kingdom of grace. Nor is it a picture of the relational love to which we’re called. 

We’ve said it before, and it bears repeating: we tend to want to change our circumstances, but God wants to change our hearts. 

This is critical, because circumstances and sufferings may not change. A restored vision to see “a big God” who is with us is what we all need most.

This way, when we do face the fire and the storm, we will not ultimately be overcome, for we know and trust that the Lord is with us (Isa. 43). 

Let’s end with some final words from Lauren:

“The very essence of faith is believing in what we can’t see (Hebrews 11:6). That’s not easy to do! We live in a world that’s not our home, where all things haven’t been made right. And in this place, trusting God is not a given. The hope is that greater trust comes on the other side of asking questions. And that is indeed the goal when we wrestle with our uncertainties: that our love for God would increase, and that, after our wrestling, we’d be left with a deeper sense that true rest will only be found with him… when you are struggling with doubts and hard questions, find a trusted person to voice them to, someone who will value them. Wrestle through them together. Pose them to God directly, as the psalmists did—and as Jesus himself did (Psalm 22:1). And be encouraged that your questions are a sign of a living, engaged faith.” 


Lauren Whitman is a counselor with the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation (CCEF). Her original article can be found here.


A Kingdom-Centered Website for Questioners, Part 1

If there’s one thing that’s true of all of us – embedded deep in our hearts from creation – it’s that we ask questions. 

We ask because we’re not self-sufficient; we’re dependent creatures. We need to wonder, wrestle, and learn – it’s actually a good thing. 

Relational inquisitiveness propels exploration, and deepens knowing. Gracious questions can be an expression of love, a way of not being preoccupied with self (1 Cor. 13:5).  

Yet sometimes our questions do reveal our unbelief:  

“Did God really say…?” (Gen. 3:1)

But then God himself comes asking us a question (though he already knows the answer!): “Where are you?” (Gen. 3:9)

It’s a way of helping us face ourselves; we’re meant to hear and reflect: “Where am I indeed?” And, “Will I be honest about my hiding, and my guilt and shame?”

Now, since that great fracturing of our relationship with God, we ask even more questions, expressing our deepest fears, hopes, and longings:

“Am I loved? Will I be Accepted?”

“Can I really be forgiven? If so, will I always feel it?”

Is there healing for my shame?”

“What am I looking to (trusting in) to find meaning in my life right now?”


Multitudes of self-help gurus offer answers to these questions – yet their answers send us inward, and leave us wanting. After all, a curved-in self is part of the problem.  

But what if we linked our questions to God’s unfolding story?

The gospel – this “divinely orchestrated narrative” of good news (what “gospel” means) actually drives us outward, away from our own schemes, to the true King.

In other words, as Tim Keller notes, the gospel is news, not advice.

And the good news is, his heart is not set on crushing us (2 Pet. 3:9). He asks us to simply admit what we are, and come open-handed.

When we do, we see that this King is unlike all others, for he stoops from his throne to personally come and rescue us. The devastating effects of our cosmic treason – guilt and shame – are answered with unimaginable grace. 

The Kingdom

Yet what makes the gospel especially good news is that it’s not only our past and future hope, it’s our present hope in the face of heart struggles and sufferings as well.

We may have come to trust Christ as our Savior, yet our deepest questions about being loved, accepted, and finding true meaning still persist.

Thankfully, they find their ultimate answers not in ourselves, but in the finished work of Christ – including what he is now doing: interceding for us, and “making all things new” (Isa. 43:19).

Faith may wax and wane, but the cross and resurrection changed everything; now, wherever the King is, there you will find the kingdom.

So how do we understand this kingdom?

Unlike many conceptions, the kingdom of God isn’t an ethereal, pie-in-the-sky, off-in-the clouds reality. Rather, it’s an unfolding story now taking shape; a King ushering in his new society.

As theologian Nicholas Perrin says, it is a “sphere of reality conspiring with a community of human image-bearers in the task of restoring creation to the worship of the one true Creator God.”

The resurrection of Jesus has opened that door. 

NT Wright fleshes this out for us when he writes:

“The point of the resurrection…is that the present bodily life is not valueless just because it will die…What you do in the present—by painting, preaching, singing, sewing, praying, teaching, building hospitals, digging wells, campaigning for justice, writing poems, caring for the needy, loving your neighbor as yourself—will last into God’s future. These activities are not simply ways of making the present life a little less beastly, a little more bearable, until the day when we leave it behind altogether…They are part of what we may call building for God’s kingdom.”

Your Website

When it comes to your website, you may have heard the popular saying “content is king.” If you listen to marketing experts, they’ll tell you that you need to use keywords (that come up in searches), well-written content, and good visuals.

These things are helpful, and shouldn’t be neglected.

Yet, we also do justice to God’s work and his unfolding kingdom when our content helps questioners grapple with the true King and his kingdom. As we’ve noted in past posts, your site should anticipate the things they will ask about, with a posture of warm and loving welcome.

We facilitate this welcome by acknowledging that every person has a story. Because we were made for this King, the questions that arise in our stories can be answered in the most healing of ways: 

“Am I loved?” The gospel answers, Yes, you are loved more than you can imagine, for the king has suffered and shed his blood to rescue you (dying the death you deserve) and welcome you into his family.

“Am I accepted?” The Gospel says you’re accepted – even on your worst day. 

“Am I forgiven?” Yes, through faith in Jesus you are completely forgiven. Jesus has sealed the adoption papers in his blood. He will bring the good work he has begun in you to completion.  

“Is there healing for my shame?” Yes, but like our other questions and because of our sin, this is easy to forget. We need continual reminders that through his cross, he has separated our sins from us “as far as the east is from the west, ” and has taken our shame upon himself.  Though we want to take it back sometimes (we insist on self-salvation projects), he says “it is finished.” 

“What gives me meaning in my life right now?” Because we’re still prone to wander, the question of where we look for meaning is always relevant. Even as believers, our heart’s worship can deviate to “self-made, artificial saviors” – whether relationships, jobs, success, feeling good and always entertained, etc. The Gospel reminds us that Jesus is better than all. 

These kinds of questions must be unpacked carefully and continually – on your site, in sermons, conferences, Sunday School lessons, etc., – and especially in God’s new community, the welcoming fellowship of believers. 

It’s easy when it comes to questions of doctrine to simply proof-text answers without fleshing them out. Your website can offer more; inquirers need to hear down-to-earth stories from those in your church family to help them. 

In our next post, we’ll add to the questions above to help your site anticipate the questions that inquirers are asking.