“How can this be?”

John 3:9

Wednesday, 17 March 2021

John 3:1-21

What questions about God are you afraid to ask? We have been shaped and formed to think that we should not or cannot question God. Some people believe that it is a sign of disrespect to question God.

Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night with many questions. “How can this be?” he asks Jesus. He teaches us that it is okay to ask God questions. We may not always like the answers – or they may seriously challenge us just as Nicodemus was! – but questioning God is a sign of a healthy and living relationship. Some of the greatest spiritual guides wrestled with God and were not afraid to ask difficult questions.

Nicodemus does not swallow everything that he has heard and seen. He thinks things through and is seeking something meaningful, something more authentic, something more life-giving. His questions are rooted in his spiritual search, in his desire for more. His desire for a deeper understanding of God and his own life leads him to ponder critical questions about himself, God and salvation. He does not simply accept everything as is.

Nicodemus invites us to question. We should not take things at face value. It is okay to ask questions that help us live our lives with meaning and authenticity – even if this means asking questions of God!

In a world of much misinformation, where fake news seems to thrive, we should be even more suspicious and ask questions. We have an ever more serious responsibility: to think and think again and ask questions. That’s an important part of the Lenten journey, too – allowing ourselves to question, think things through, and seek the truth and not be duped by what is happening around us.

What questions do you have for God today?

Lord God,

Help me to see my life with new eyes, your eyes.

Teach me how to read the narrative of my own life so that I can see and rejoice in your work in my life.

Give me clarity of understanding this Lent.


Fr Russell Pollitt SJ

Fr Russell Pollitt SJ is the Director of the Jesuit Institute and is interested in the impact that communications technology has on society and spirituality. He regularly comments on South African Politics and various issues in the Catholic Church.

director@jesuitinstitute.org.za @rpollittsj
See more from Russell Pollitt SJ
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