It is completely natural for not knowing something, I still don’t know so many things in the world and some maybe I will never know. However, there is a difference between not knowing an answer and the answer of “I don’t know,” especially when the question is asked by a teacher. I learned about this by being the teacher.
Throughout my months of teaching piano here in Thailand, I have encountered numerous students, some of them have brains spinning faster than the others. One fast student, in particular, would sometimes get on my nerve because he likes to say “I don’t know” a lot when I ask him questions, and his brain spins very fast.
I would often ask the student to identify the note on the music and students would answer me with the letter from A to G, but before I ask I would make sure they know how. This student has clearly shown many times that he has no problem finding out a note letter, but still, he would say “I don’t know how” even though he just answered the same question a minute ago but a different location on the music. I decided it was about time to teach him something different.
“Think! Use your brain!” I poked at his brain like a woodpecker. At this point, I knew it wasn’t true that he didn’t know the answer, but he was just wanting me to tell him the answer so he didn’t need to think. Instead of arguing with him saying “yes you know,” I showed him again the ways he could find the answer with, but I would never tell him the answer.
I find that very much the same with the logic of God only allows us to face the trials we can handle. God doesn’t ask questions we don’t know just to embitter us. As soon as I understood the teacher perspective, I can’t imagine how many times God had to poke my brain when I say “I don’t know” to obvious questions.
When it comes to questions like what do I want to do in life, God doesn’t audibly tell me what to do, although He could if He has to, He speaks to me when I read the Bible and prayers, and I know it from the past. Very often when I would forget those methods in times I would shout to God “I don’t know,” and He would do the exact same thing as I did to my student, direct me to the Bible and guide me through my prayers. I know clearly the ultimate goal in whatever I do is to tell the gospel, but if I just stand there waiting for direct instructions I will never know anything.
I praise God for how much patience He has for me in this lifelong learning process and I am understanding God’s character more from my experience as a teacher. I may not know the answer immediately when a problem arises next time, but I know instead of saying “I don’t know” and quit, I can humbly ask God “show me how.”