Questions open the door to wonderful things. For example, for mankind to go to the moon, the quest had to start with questions: Is it possible? How can we do it? Clearly, the answers were there and we went to the moon. But before that could happen, scientists had to open themselves up to ways of understanding the universe that challenged personal opinions, preconceptions, and limitations.
The physical sciences, based heavily on exploration and discovery, have always relied on questions to break new ground. The same could be said for the Science of Christianity, which came as a spiritual breakthrough for a 19th-century woman—Mary Baker Eddy—who’d been questioning the nature of reality and searching for answers for her ill health for decades. After a near-fatal injury, she experienced a startling healing, which prompted further deep questions that she went on to answer over the course of the rest of her life.
Those of us engaged in our own spiritual exploration might find helpful guidance in this approach. Asking the kind of probing spiritual questions that take us beyond the boundaries of what we perceive—or think we know—can be a powerful tool in forwarding our own growth Spiritward, as well as in experiencing healing.
There is ample biblical evidence of questions as a prelude to healing. Christ Jesus often asked questions before he accomplished his mighty works. For example, “Wilt thou be made whole?” “Children, have ye any meat?” “Hath no man condemned thee?” These questions demanded that the listener challenge their limited concepts of their own identity, of God, and even of reality.
With each question, expectations were tested. It was as if Jesus was driving home the point that some shift in consciousness was required for healing. His questions pushed his listeners to see beyond what they considered to be reality, and through Christ, the illuminating activity of Truth, their concepts were transformed. Healing was the result.
But not everyone in Jesus’ inner circle immediately understood which types of questions were effective—and which ones weren’t. For example, once, when Jesus and his disciples encountered a blind man, the disciples asked a “why” question, trying to discern the source of the ailment: “Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2). In response, Jesus told them that no one had sinned. Then he healed the man, essentially proving that questions about the nature of evil don’t take us forward, while questions about reality—the nature of God—do. His healing illustrated that there’s no point in trying to investigate something that isn’t ultimately real.
Posing questions is a great way to allow God, divine Mind, to reveal Himself to us. As we study the Bible and the writings of Mrs. Eddy, prayerfully asking questions about points on which we’d like clarity can be helpful. Research in terms of commentaries, dictionaries, and various Bible translations can also help.
For me, an essential ingredient of prayer is posing questions. I frequently ask God, “What do I need to know?” Or, “What do I need to pray about?” God, infinite intelligence, is already conscious of every idea. But questions help open our thought to this divine intelligence, and through the activity of the ever-present Christ, answers come—to all of us.
Once, a friend told me she hadn’t been able to keep food down for three days and asked if I would pray with her. I was happy to, and my prayer was, “God, what do I need to know?”
The idea came distinctly to pray about resentment. “No,” I thought, “that couldn’t be right.” So I asked again: “Please, God. What?” The answer was the same. I asked yet again. The same thing. Finally I got the message and prayed about Love. I knew that because God, Love, fills all space, there couldn’t be anything else but Love.
Several hours later I saw my friend and asked how she was feeling. She told me she was fine, and that she’d had a hamburger, fries, and a milkshake for lunch! But she said the best thing was that she and her husband had made up after three days of not speaking because of a huge fight. I’d had no idea they’d been at odds. But posing the question—and really listening to the answer—revealed what actually needed to be addressed.
Over the course of history, the greatest discoveries and scientific advances have come as scientists and explorers have dared to envision life beyond what the eye can see. In the same way, as we engage in spiritual exploration, we too must go beyond surface appearances to see more of reality. “Where shall the gaze rest,” asked Mrs. Eddy, “but in the unsearchable realm of Mind?” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 264).
Questions give us access to this realm of infinite Mind, where we can explore the amazing depth and breadth of God. In this realm, which is the only real universe, we find our educated—but ultimately faulty—beliefs about life being revised or overturned. We discover that Spirit truly is the only substance—our only substance; that Love cares for us, and supplies everything we need. Our view naturally expands to look out from Mind, and the result, even when we may not specifically be seeking it, is the adjustment in our lives that we call healing.
Let’s keep on asking the right questions—and listening for God’s glorious answers.
Guest Editorial Writer