There are always moments when I find myself feeling proud as an SBS leader, not proud of myself in any way, but proud of the things that I witness, either in my fellow missionary members or students. I am not a parent, but I would compare what I feel to that of a parent proud of their child. I believe this is something that God gives us and allows us to experience for those that we are responsible for in leadership. God wants His kids to know He is proud of them and will reflect that leaders. We, as leaders, need to be willing to feel it and express it to those that we are leading.
My proud moment came during class. We were in the final book of the Pentateuch, Deuteronomy. It is Moses’ last hoorah to the second generation of Israelites who are about to enter the Promise Land and conquer it. He is calling them to remember all that God has done, bringing up various laws and commands, and reminding them to be faithful to the covenant. It is an incredible book. The whole Pentateuch is awesome because I believe a person really gets to see what God values, His character, and His desire to dwell with His people.
It was during the various laws and instructions that the students really began to question and wrestle. They were really struggling with how black and white some of the commands were and how “harsh” the consequences of breaking the commands were. As I was observing from the back, hearing different questions and thoughts from the students, it was at this moment that I became very proud of them. Why? Because they were asking really hard, deep questions. It wasn’t to be difficult or challenging, but to understand why God said what He did. They really wanted to know deeply who God is and why He was doing what He was doing. The questions that they were asking ultimately not have perfect answers, or even answers at all, but they were still asking them and wanting to talk about them. What this communicates to me is that I have a group of people in the classroom right now that deeply want to know God and ask hard questions because they want to understand. They were okay with not getting perfect answers, and we, as missionary members, were okay as they kept asking more questions. It was environment of discussion, learning, and seeking God honestly and earnestly and being okay no matter how the question was answered or asked.
This makes me proud of both of my fellow missionary members and students because not once did my missionary members ever say, “Stop asking so many questions!” And not once did the students say, “This sucks, I want more answers.” Instead, they simply asked more questions and my missionary members kept being willing to discuss and ask questions with the students. It was awesome to be a part of and I was overwhelmed with pride for that group of people sitting in that room talking about God. God was very proud of them because they were open, honest, seeking Him, and asking hard questions, which ultimately showed a desire to learn more about God and grow in their understanding of Him.
God loves it when His children seek Him. God loves questions. God loves when we wrestle with Him. Why? Well, I believe it is because we are giving God an opportunity to show up in our lives and reveal Himself to us. I don’t think He will always answer our questions, and our questions may lead to more questions, but that’s okay. God will show up, He will help you with the questions and He will give us more understanding about who He is and it ay not relate to the original question we had to begin with. This is the beauty of God. His ways are not our ways. His way is the better way, even when it comes to answering our questions and how He reveals Himself to us.
If you are in leadership, be okay with questions. Be willing to process and discuss with whoever is asking questions. Most importantly, don’t feel like you need to answer all of a persons questions. Some of the most powerful words that come from leadership or teachers of God’s word are, “I don’t know.” Not because we haven’t thought about it, but because the answer goes so far beyond us that God needs to respond and we need to be okay with allowing God to work in the hearts of those that we lead. We can’t be the answer to everything, but we can be a sounding board and a safe place for people to wrestle.
Be that safe place. Be willing to ask questions with those you are leading. When moments come that you are experiencing God’s heart for someone, express it. Let them know that God is proud of them and He is okay with them asking the hard things because He is and He wants to show up in that persons life. We as leaders either need to express God’s heart for His kids, if God is telling us to do so, or get out of the way so that God can do it Himself.