There is No Such Thing as a Stupid Question.

There is no such thing as a stupid question.

Since elementary school, we’ve all had that drilled into our heads. And it’s true, to be honest. But that doesn’t mean there are no wrong questions.

“Stupid” questions still do their job: they allow information to be revealed. And, since we’re already riding the Cliché Express, “knowledge is power.” If you ask enough seemingly irrelevant, inane questions, you will probably solve your problem, even if entirely by accident.

But what’s the difference between “stupid” questions and wrong questions?


How do I get out of this mess?
Where did I go wrong?
When will this be over?

Most of the time, those would be considered good questions. But, without context, they only address symptoms. The first question that needs answered, in any situation, is why?

Why did this happen? Why did I make that decision? Why am I sitting here, stuck in this figurative mud, spinning my wheels?

Context is, essentially, your situational backstory. It’s the detail that we need to know from the past if we want to understand the present. And, if we don’t adequately understand the present, we can’t see the future clearly enough to make decisions on how to move forward. We need to ask, why?

Why am I where I am? Did I choose unwisely? Did I ignore advice that would have prevented me from ending up here? When we start to dig into why, we can clearly see how it differs from the other forms of questions: how, where, when and what are all projecting questions – they look forward to discerning the future. Why is, inherently, a retroactive question, probing the past for details that will help to answer the others. Why is finite, concrete and linear; the others offer infinite possibilities, but with no guarantees attached to any of them – and they are of even less value when we don’t understand the context. The value of why is immediately obvious.
The problem, for most of us, is that we don’t ask why until we are already stuck axle-deep in the muck of life’s problems. Oftentimes, we are blindly convinced that our own will is sufficient to get us through anything we might face, and we are unable to see the truth until we have hit a dead-end.

So, how do we avoid the mud in the first place? The answer has two parts:

1) Don’t wait until you are stuck to examine both where you are, and how you got there. At least daily, assess the situation: where am I, and how did I get from where I was the last time I checked, to where I am now?

2) Make sure you are seeking the truth from the right source. If I’m stuck, I know it was my own decisions that got me to that point. Why, then, should I trust my own, flawed self to get me out? Can I do this alone – or should I pray and consult God’s Word to find the answer? (Hint: the respective answers to those questions are always “NO!” and “YES!”)

Asking why, and letting God reveal the answer, empowers us, because we are allowing ourselves to submit to His will, rather than our own; to correct our path before we’ve gone down the wrong one. We have anticipated the mud and, instead, headed for the dry ground of His Truth.

Rocky, uncertain paths may still lay ahead. But as long as we seek His counsel all along the way, we aren’t going to get stuck in the mud.

Philippians 4:6-7: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.