Recently, I was asked to make a presentation and then  field questions from the participants.  When I fully understand the subject, I enjoy this type of interchange.  However, this was in an area that I don’t know all the current activities of the organization.  I felt uncomfortable.

After the meeting I expressed my worry with a friend who was one of the people asking questions.  “Don’t you know it’s all right to say, ‘I don’t know?'”

Of course, I know that I’m not expected to know every detail of the daily activities and I am okay saying, “I don’t know.”  Nevertheless, that knowledge does not cut the anxiety and unease I feel going into this meeting.

Driving home from the event, I mulled over the actions and reactions of the participants.  Several people had come to learn.  Other questions exposed an agenda which became clear from their query.  Then I reexamined my discomfort.  Why did the Dreaded Questioning unnerve me? 

Perhaps it is a control issue.  Or it could be that almost no one is comfortable being put in a hot seat of unknown inquiry.  From world leaders to folks who work with small ministries in Small Town,  USA, questions are our most beloved friend and arch-enemy. 

Questions allow us to explain in a cohesive way what wasn’t understood.  Questions can bring up new thought processes that stir our hearts and minds.  They may open new areas of thought that allow us to walk into adventurous vistas where we must totally depend on the Holy Spirit.  Questions solicit participation from an audience that may otherwise sit numb and dumb.

On the other hand, questions leave us vulnerable and exposed.  Questions become tell-tale evidence that we didn’t do our homework.  Questions allow The Avenger sitting in the audience to voice his or her distrust. 

Perhaps the greatest benefit of questions is that we must depend on the mercy of the Lord in the little things of life.  We aren’t making decisions that will change the complexion of world politics.  However, we present a life-changing Gospel and the answers we give may allow the Holy Spirit to enlighten and teach about the  amazing population we serve.

As I drove home, I determined that there were three things I learned from the experience.  First, I must insure that I’ve done my homework regarding this type of meeting.  Second, I should remember Paul’s advice, “After you have done all, stand.”  I can answer honestly and forthrightly or say, “I don’t know.  I’ll find out.”  And third, a bit of anxiety sharpens our minds and requires us to lean heavily on God’s mercy and grace.  This could be a good thing.