Friday, April 11, 2008

Staying With the Questions

This past Sunday evening the retreat began with dinner, an opening session followed by evening prayer and then the "great silence," in which we were challenged to just be quiet for the night. Quiet for me meant not calling home, and avoiding the urge to dive into the one book I brought along, just because I think I have to be reading every spare moment! I noted in my journal about some tension I'd been experiencing and about which I was hoping to get some answers during these few days. Not tension as in stress, but that kind of tension that leaves you feeling pulled, often between two good things.

Wouldn't you know it, the next morning that was the topic of the first session - tension! (I never thought about all the tensions ministry leaders experience - between being and doing, truth telling vs. image management, etc.)

Needless to say, my heart perked up at the word "tension." Aha! Thank you in advance, God, for the answer. I'm all ears. Oops! Not quite. There wasn't an answer per se but rather a third way - the way of grace that comes with discernment. A challenge to stay with the questions. To be with the tension in God's presence. The creative tension, the leader referred to this as.

I can't tell you how world-rocking this was for me. I'm not exactly comfortable with questions. I want answers. But coming to understand that God is in the questions - well, I kind of want to be there.

I've been intrigued by this idea of questions vs. answers lately and recently started going through the book of Genesis, underlining questions. The first three questions God asks are rather revealing: Where are you? Who told you you were naked? What is this you have done? It was through these questions that God spoke to mankind about the truth of their situation. Jesus continues with the question approach throughout his ministry. So it makes sense to me to learn to welcome questions and even be able to ask them of myself.

4 comments:

Becky said...

This was so good for me to read. You have no idea how it speaks. We have been living in the tension, asking God for something we thought He had told us He wanted to give. Furthering our ministry.

Then nothing.

This weekend we begin a BIG era in the history of our church. And we never thought we'd be here to see it. And we don't want to be. We want to be in that place God told us we'd be by now.

I have prayed and prayed and prayed and finally a few weeks ago I came to the place of knowing that indeed THIS is where He has us because THIS is where He WANTS us. For now.

The tension for me is throwing myself into this BIG thing and getting on board when my heart is just not in it.

Living in the tension. I am so glad that He lives here with me. He is the Peace. Only Him.

Thanks, Dianne.

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

It is SO hard to just be quiet. Great that you went away and they encouraged you to do just that.

gail@more than a song said...

I've heard that several times before about Jesus using questions in his ministry and answering questions with questions of His own. Yeah, sometimes, lots of times, I want answers too so it's usually a continuing thing for me to learn.

Katrina said...

I'm an answer girl, myself, and it's very hard for me to welcome questions and be able to quietly live with them. Good thoughts.