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Love in Questions

I just finished a book by Alice Fryling called Seeking God Together (IVP. © 2009) about the kinds of small groups “which provide a place where individuals can experience what it means to be listened to and loved by others, so that they can learn to listen more attentively to God in their daily lives and be used by God to spread God’s grace and love throughout the world.”

In a chapter about called “Asking Life-Giving Questions” she notes how, “asking loving questions is a countercultural phenomenon. We live in a culture where having answers is more popular than asking questions.”

Then, she goes on to observe that, “in this media-saturated age we have answers to questions we didn’t even know we were asking. In the midst of the onslaught of information around us, the art of asking questions is losing ground. In normal conversation we often forget about questions altogether. We’re eager to impart information, opinions and suggestions, but we forget about having inquiring minds.”

One thing that asking good questions does is to move us away from having to have all the answers or share a better story than one someone else just told. Instead, we demonstrate genuine love to another person as we step off center stage and out of the spotlight by asking them a question.W hen we ask a good question, we allow the other person to be the authority, to tell a story or to just talk about something personally meaningful to them. “Learning to ask good questions—while not easy—changes us and helps us focus on others,” says Fryling.

Not taking what appears to be “coincidence” as separate from God’s providential moving, my devotional reading this week in A Guide to Prayer for All Who Walk with God (published by Upper Room), also called my attention to questions when I read this reflection by John S. Mogabgab, editor of the journal Weavings:

“ ‘What do you want?’ ” (John 1:38, JB). Here is the question that searches the depths of human existence, asked by the one who knows those depths as no other. The disciples of John the Baptist to whom Jesus addressed these words must have felt their enormous spiritual resonance. These were followers of the desert prophet, seekers who surely knew the sweet anguish of holy desire inflaming muscle and bone, imagination and will. Could they have been unfamiliar with desire’s insistent prodding, its magnetic draw upon energy and attention? And you, surely you are not a stranger to the bold quest of desire for what alone will satisfy its ardent longing. What do you want? A vast arc of desire stretches across human existence, a long sweep of mutual longing between Creator and creature that constitutes the innermost dynamism of history. “Where are you?” calls God to a hiding Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:9). “Where do you live?” ask John’s disciples when they encounter the Son of God (John 1:38, JB). Expressed in the disciples’ words are the many urgent, bewildered, painful questions concerning the whereabouts of God in a harsh world. And to those words, in their simplicity and gravity, Jesus responds with the great invitation to all spiritual seekers: “Come and see” (John 1:39). “Come,” Jesus says, calling us to step away from personal attitudes, cultural values, even religious convictions that hinder recognition of the God who is closer than we think. How God must cherish our company to number the hairs on our head (Luke 12:7) and to decipher the inarticulate groanings of our soul (Rom. 8:22-27). And if indeed God is sometimes hidden, it is not to deny our desire for God’s presence but to hallow and intensify it. Freshly roused thirst for God may be precisely the way we discover the invitation to come and see.”

Incredible, isn’t it? God cares enough for us to ask questions not just provide answers!

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Questions—Questions that go deep,

that prompt thoughtful pondering ...

that challenge,

that invite.

Such questions God asks of us.

Such questions Jesus poses.

“... they followed Jesus [at a distance]. Turning around Jesus saw them following and asked,

What do you want?’” (John 1:37,38).

“... as the Lord God ... was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and [the man and the woman] hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man,

Where are you?’” (Genesis 3:8,9)

Jesus asked the blind man, Bartimaeus,

What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51)

What do I want?

Where am I?

What do I want You to do for me?

What do I want?

To be like You—to love and be loved.

What do I want?

To live at peace—and in peace ... secure ... easy ... gentle ...

loosed from anxious worry ... Peace.

What do I want?

To make a difference ... to count ...

have significance to You and a few others. For my life to matter.

What do I want?

To know You, God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit ...personally ... intimately.

What do you want ... really want?

What other questions is God asking?

What questions are you asking?

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1 Comment

Jean Kunkel
Jean Kunkel
Oct 19, 2018

Thank you dick, very insightful!

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