Thursday, June 21, 2007

Questions, Questions

Lately I've been impacted by the idea of questions and how important they are in our relationships, both with God and others. I spent a lot of time in the gospel of Mark earlier this year. From January through most of April, I traipsed along, reading just a few verses or a short passage each day, often rereading the same passage for several days. Of all the gospels, Mark is my favorite. When I read Mark, I can really envision being out in the middle of the raging sea and seeing Jesus coming to my rescue. Reading about Jesus getting up early to spend time with his Father makes me want to do the same.

Part way through the book, I began to notice a pattern in Jesus' teaching methods. He was constantly asking questions! Not superficial "how are you" type questions, but deeply probing ones. Here are a few I jotted down just from chapter 8 alone:

  • v. 5 How many loaves do you have? (What do you already have that I've given you to use for me?)
  • v. 12 Why does this generation ask for a sign?
  • v. 17-18 Do you not see or understand? Don't you remember?
  • v. 19-20 How many basketfuls did you pick up?
  • v. 21 Do you still not understand?
  • v. 23 Do you see anything? (asking the blind man)
  • v. 27 Who do people say I am?
  • v. 29 Who do you say I am?
Wow! Imagine being grilled like that by a friend! And yet, Jesus consistently used this method of questioning in all his dealings, from his disciples to the multitudes to even the Pharisees. He was always leading people to the truth, never shoving it down their throat or holding it up as a mandate.

Of late, I've been asked, and am learning to ask, some honest questions of myself and God. Things like:
  • What am I really afraid of?
  • What are my choices here? (as far as emotional and other responses are concerned)
  • What does that look like? (in response to living out a Biblical command or challenge)
  • What are you trying to teach me here, God?
Lastly, I've been challenged to consider the value of questions as part of my relationships with others. The other day I was so blessed to be asked this in an email: What is God teaching you? Again, wow! Imagine if we could ask and be asked those honest questions of a few people in our lives? Questions like
  • How is God working in your life?
  • I've been praying for you about _______. How are things going?
  • Is there anything I can pray for you about?
The power of a good question. What is Jesus asking you today? What are you asking yourself? What are you asking God? What are others asking you (and are you answering honestly?) And what do you need to ask those you love?