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Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Importance of Proper Questioning

Asking God "Why?" may be one of the most pointless and asinine things we can do in this lifetime. If we cannot, with our own God-given logic and intelligence, find the answer in a proper amount of time, then the "Why" may not be at all what God wants us to obtain from the present circumstance. "Why?" focuses on what has already happened, not on what the next step should be.

And while He is perfectly able to answer us as to why something has happened, the chances of us understanding the answer are so incredibly small anyway that it is really just pointless to even start the whole exhausting process by asking the question in the first place. Asking God "Why?" is like a crowd of would-be art lovers who, in their enthusiastic love of the abstract, marvel and celebrate the latest masterpiece, only to find out later it was just the easel.

Our understanding is not His understanding. Our view of the picture is not at all His view of the picture. In fact, most of the time we are focusing on the Easel of Circumstance instead of looking for what it holds - The Masterpiece of Grace.

The most essential question we ask of God should be "What?". The Who, Where, and When come later. "What" grabs hold of the point. It defines for us the Message. It allows us to be part of God's work of art.

I also strongly believe that this question of "What?" should always be followed by an offer of personal involvement. "What do you want me to do?" "What can I learn from this opportunity?" "What can I do to react in a more Christ-like manner?" By asking this question we are showing God that we are following two of the most important principles of spiritual progress. When God answers (and believe me He will!) we must have the Ability to Listen and the Willingness to Lead.


Scripture is full of these types of interactions. A good example is found in the story of I Samuel 3:1-10. God called Samuel's name three times in the dusk of the afternoon, while he and his mentor priest Eli napped. Twice Samuel ran to Eli to see why he had called. The third time, Eli realized that God was speaking to Samuel and advised him to ask a "what" type of question of God. "Speak Lord, for thy servant listens". I am listening God. What do you want me to do? God wanted him to Lead, and the rest is history.

I believe that, by asking the proper questions, we obtain the best answers. Yes, in our deductive process we sometimes need to find out why something has happened. God gives us that intelligence and reasoning capability. However, "why" something has happened can only be profitable in guiding us to "what" our next steps should be, and is often not a necessary part of the process. In fact, "Why?" is more often than not a tool used by our Enemy to stall us, to humiliate us, to yank our focus from what God is trying to mold us into to a place where all we can see is the tragedy or uncomfortable circumstance that has just happened. Yes, I know that in our humanity asking "Why?" is sometimes inevitable, but when we cannot find an answer to "Why", we must move on to "What" God wants for us. "What?" is the question that allows us to Listen and Lead for the Kingdom.

© Copyright Derek Hickman 2008

2 comments:

EJHickman said...

On the Cross, Jesus cried, "My God, my God why hast thou forsaken me?" -even though he already knew the answer.

Maybe the circumstance that leads us to the "why" is to bring us to the place where we do the "what" that He has already spoken to us about doing before???

Yes, we are to lead - as servants of our heavenly Father. Christ was our supreme example of servanthood. The Cross ultimately shows us how difficult it can be to serve, and thus we shy away, we hesitate to do the "what", because we are fearful, our human gets in the way.

Only as we let the heavenly Father permeate us with his wonderful grace, his genuine humbleness, and his spirit of generosity can we accomplish the "what" of leadership.

Derek Hickman said...

Careful! You're taking part two of my discussion . . . just kidding :)

Great point! As with anything in the Christian walk, we must do our best to walk in the Spirit of Christ. This is the same Spirit that Samuel answered God with, "Speak . . . for your servant listens". That servant heart is very important to our accomplishing the "What" of our ministry.