Photography by: Scott Mitchell
Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Photograph by: Scott Mitchell

How, God…?

Why, God…?

Two people:

One, a church professional with a tight handle on theological sensibilities, dares question God and is given the mute button, struck down with an embarrassing affliction.

The other, a youthful girl, with nowhere near the training or ecclesiological acumen of her counterpart, also questions God and is promptly rewarded with one of the greatest things God has ever done for a single individual in the history of the world.

I suppose it follows if you’re going to question God you’d best know how to do it. You may not be dealt a physical disability, but you still don’t want to play fast and loose with the Sacred.

Far fewer times than you’d think I’ve been asked about my disability through the years, “have you ever questioned God?” If you know my story, it wouldn’t surprise you to hear that my response is always a resounding no, never.

In a very real sense you could even say I asked for it.

Questions, Questions

Philip Yancey said he read where Jesus had a question thrown at him 157 times in the Gospels, and 153 times he answered with his own question.

The answer, turns out, was always in the question.

The Bible is a God-book. Inarguably, it’s a book of answers to humankind’s dilemma. As sure as there ever was a reason to be sure about anything, and as knowable as our God is, still the Bible is also a book of many questions. It’s been researched out that the Bible has almost 3000 of them.

One of the champion question-lobbers is a guy named Job. Preachers have often pounded their pulpits and wrongly, if not overzealously, shouted: “Job never once questioned God!!!”

Oh?

Pretty sure there were around 15-20 times he wanted to know “Why?” and until the closing chapters, God is not very motivated to answer him. But then, from the eye of a hurricane, God clears His throat and enters the conversation with – you guessed it: questions.

For Job.

77 of them! 

 Gulp.

It’s HOW you ask the questions..

I’m not one of those who subscribes to the ‘it’s never right to question God’ school of thought. It really comes down to how you frame the ask.

Oh, absolutely many of our questions are rooted in selfishness and faithlessness, and, dare I say, sinful unbelief.

Why, God?!?

[Re: You owe me an explanation!]

Such whining brooks heavenly silence most of the time.

In the case of the why-ing of Job it can be argued – granted – that many of those times were borderline accusations, but you don’t really know until you’ve been there. Unscarred, untested, armchair critics best tread lightly with the man Job. I happen to think he was not attacking God so much as he was deeply hurt and yearned for an Advocate.

Is there no part of you, God – no tender place in You – that pities me?

There are times when our questions are the only worship we can offer.

In such times, to be met with silence – Lewis’ descriptive “go to Him when your need is desperate and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and the sound of bolting and double-bolting on the inside– isn’t indicative of a God who is, in fact, aloof. Not by a long shot. Think of his silence as you would a dramatic pause: something profound is coming. Wait for it…

I like Chambers here:

“When you cannot hear God, you will find that He has trusted you in the most intimate way possible – with absolute silence. Not a silence of despair, but one of pleasure, because He saw that you could withstand an even bigger revelation.” – Oswald Chambers, My Utmost…

So back to the two people I alluded to in my opening. In short, they are Zechariah and Mary respectively, both having figured prominently in the incarnation of THE WORD (not the question)!

  • One would father the ‘Pointer’ to Messiah, the other would mother the Answer who is Christ.
  • Both their stories fit in the same chapter (Luke 1).
  • Both questioned God.

“How can it be?”

But there the similarities end. One was rebuked, and the other was blessed. It’s all in ‘how’ they asked.

When Zechariah asked “how” (Luke 1:18) – as an old man married to an old woman – his motivation was more, “how can I trust God with such a thing?!”

When Mary asked “how?” (Luke 1:34), her question was framed more as “how can God trust ME with such a thing?!”

That’s the difference, friend. And while Zechariah’s mouth was shut, Mary’s womb was opened.

Booyah.

The question from the well-versed, professional steward of God’s ways (which hid a skeptic’s scorn) resulted in his speech faculties being graphically silenced, while the humble girl with nothing to lose burst into song (Luke 1:46-55)!

Come to think of it, Job’s epilogue takes a very similar turn.

Moral of the story? You can ask, so long as you follow it up with a song. God’ll listen to that all day long – and will even join in. No question about it.

Selah   

 


1C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2016 Scott Mitchell

Post Author: Pasturescott

7 Replies to “How to Question God”

  1. Thank you Pastor Scott.
    I loved and learned much in your blog.
    Please pray for me that Zi will bring others to CHRIST and do only what HE wants from me.
    GOD bless and keep you.
    Jan
    I go to West Huntsville Baptist

    1. My dear Jan, thank you for reading this with your heart! It blesses me to know the Lord used it to instruct/encourage you. You and your church family are HOME to Sandy and me and we never would have come through many of our deepest trials without you all.

  2. Pastor Scott, I have been missing your writings and was wondering just this past week what had happened. Our Summer here has been a bit different and my access to the computer more limited. HOWEVER the past two blogs that I have caught including this one are OVER THE TOP!! I have to say that your ideas of how we are to question God is right on target. You put into words the descriptions that I have found to be true, and I never knew how to describe this like you have. I know you know what you are talking about, too!! Our loving Heavenly Father has faithfully answered my questions and not left me alone in the asking. The wonderful ways He has given His special touch in revealing His mysteries to me are always a blessing. YOU ARE ONE OF THOSE BLESSINGS. I am glad to have found your last two posts as I was traveling home from visiting our youngest son and his family in Tucson Arizona. He is still running as his outlet to stay the person God would wish him to be. He is the father of two youngsters, a son almost ten and a daughter aged 5. He is married to an incredible woman. Stacey still questions God and does not allow me in on his conversations too much. His actions show that he is allowing God to use his potential. His latest published book, “Eddie and Sunny” has to be his best. It is not especially Christian in its theme but I believe what Jesus said, “If they are not against me, they are with me,” when his disciples asked that question. It would be interesting to have your critique on it. Its on Kindle. He has just run a half marathon in this month that marks his birth in October of ’73. Yes! he is now about to have his 43rd birthday. He ran it in 1 hour and 33 minutes. His body proclaims the Glory of the Lord even if he does not speak so openly of God’s work in his life. His body is a temple and Stacey is disciplined to keep it to God’s glory. Thank you Scott for your blogs, especially this one. I do believe that going through suffering with God at the helm is about the best possible way to understand just what God wants us to hear. We are loved with an everlasting love. We are to love Him back and love others in that same way. Jesus is the answer. Thanks Scott for being a witness for Christ. OOXXOO

    1. Margaret, dear dear friend – how delighted am I the Lord spoke His message to your heart in this post. Your words humble me as always and I ask for His grace to enable me to live up to them. Yes, it’s been a long while since I’ve added to the blog…chalk it up to my annoying proclivity to not write until I get a spark. That sounds good and all, but the discipline of writing is an offering of worship and I will try to put something in the ‘collection basket’ more regularly. 😀

      Thank you, dear encourager!

  3. Hi my pastor, my friend. Was also concerned that there were no posts from you. I so enjoy your wisdom and insight as I miss interactions with you. Blessing to you and Sandy.

Join the Conversation!

Your email address will not be published.

You may also like

the bishop and the philosopher

Today marks the 500th anniversary of Luther’s pounding 95 indictments

mercy overload

mercy triumphs over judgment (James 2:13) 36 years ago yesterday

behold what

Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon

CLICK ON THE IMAGE ABOVE FOR THE MOST RECENT EPISODES

Most Popular Posts

Presently Engrossed In

 

‘Pasture-ing’ Myself With:

All original content on these pages is fingerprinted and certified by Digiprove
%d bloggers like this: