As I write today we are two days past Easter and one day away from the income tax filing deadline here in the United States. Redemption wrapped in hope could not be more powerfully met in any two days. Or so it seems. Easter is about believing that God's power can defy death. Paying taxes is about believing that we are all members of our community, contributing our fair share to keep support services running and the infrastructure intact. Death and taxes: the two things that are undeniably a part of each of our lives. Where a significant glitch arises for many people is in believing that all there is to living faithfully is avoiding death and paying obligatory dues to keep the whole process running. The truth is that there is so much more. But in this moment I have more questions than answers, something I believe is particularly important as we take what Jesus taught us with his life and apply it to our own.

I believe it takes courage to question our own beliefs, much more than to label someone else's or blame another for what we perceive as different or simply difficult to understand. Something I love about Jesus' teachings is how skillfully he asked questions of the people who came to him. The most basic of questions could inspire the choice to completely change a life: "What do you want me to do for you?" was a common inquiry on Jesus' part to begin the exploration of what could be. It's quite amazing that most answered that question quickly and easily. Some wanted healing for themselves, a relative, an employee or a friend. Others wanted to know if Jesus was the Messiah or if they may follow him as his disciple. Regarding healings, Jesus happily offered people their wholeness based on their own faith. About the Messiah question, Jesus usually let people make up their own minds. Potential followers were given the full scoop of the difficulty of life on the road with a rogue rabbi and also left to their own decision if what they were asking was a fit for them.

All of this is to say that Jesus encouraged those who came to him to think about how their faith fit their lives and how their lives were shaped by their faith. Jesus didn't give ready or easy answers, but he also didn't complicate specific issues with his own story or possibilities and potential problems.

"Is this what you want for the rest of your life?" was an important question a friend once asked me that changed my life and continues to resonate with me to this day. The circumstances under which I first heard those words were not unusual, but they were very difficult, painfully so. None of us want to live our whole lives in physical, emotional or mental anguish. Yet many of us stay stuck in old patterns that make us miserable because we believe they are all that we are, all that we can create for ourselves. In clinging to life as we know it we deny ourselves the life we were meant to live and the Creator who brought us into being.

Is your life all you want it to be? I suspect that couched in Jesus asking those who came to him want they wanted from him was the understanding that they were not happy with their lives. I suspect Jesus was also aware that those with the courage to ask understood this as the necessary step to receiving what they needed. Simple, isn't it? Ask and you will receive. Think about that for a moment. Ask and you will receive. How many times have you been afraid to ask a question for fear of the consequences? What would your life look like if you were willing to set aside that fear, ask God for what you want and be willing to receive it with your whole heart?

As I mentioned, I have many more questions today than answers.

Author's Bio: 

The Rev. Cory L. Kemp, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay with a double major in Communication and the Arts and Social Change and Development and a minor in Women's Studies, was ordained into the ministry of the Moravian Church in North America after completing her Master of Divinity degree studies through Moravian Theological Seminary. Over twenty-five years of experience in individual and community ministries gives Rev. Kemp an informed perception about faith, its implications and struggles in everyday life. Rev. Kemp focuses her work on helping people understand their faith and how faith can become transformational in their lives. Bring authentic, meaningful faith into your daily life by visiting and downloading your complimentary copy of the Special Report, "7 Ways To Bring Authentic, Meaningful Faith Into Your Daily Life."