Questions

“Why do you weep when you pray?” he asked me, as though he had known me a long time.

“I don’t know why,” I answered, greatly disturbed.

The question had never entered my head. I wept because – because of something inside me that gelt the need for tears. That was all I knew.

“Why do you pray?” he asked me after a moment.

Why did I pray? A strange question. Why did I live? Why did I breathe?

“I don’t know why,” I said, even more disturbed and ill at ease. “I don’t know why.”

After that day I saw him often. He explained to me with great insistence that every question possessed a power that did not lie in the answer.”

— Elie Wiesel

Questions leave us vulnerable, weak, needy. They open up gaping holes in our personality, our theology, or our lifestyle. Questions force an honesty that we are unwilling to confront – an honesty that requires us to live with our lives unresolved. We don’t like that. Especially when we’re trying to sell a theology that has an answer to every problem we face.

I once counted 288 question marks in the book of Job. Many were from the mouth of Job; others were spoken by his counselors. But surprisingly, when God finally speaks in the closing chapters, his answer to Job comes in the form of more questions – 78 of them, to be exact. Of the 288 question marks in the book of Job, 78 of them belong to God; they are his answer to Job.

Sometimes God answers us with questions – questions that leave us humble, awed, speechless, weak, and believing – believing not because we’ve found the answer, but because we’ve seen God. It doesn’t matter that we have more questions now that when we started. It matters that we see God, for in the seeing, we discover that the truest answer to all our questions is to worship God.

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7 Responses to Questions

  1. oh, for all of us Believers to have the courage to ask each other the right questions…that is what is often lacking in our fellowship but so needed. Thank you John for this incredible blog entry.

  2. LW Warfel says:

    I love the idea of God answering us with questions! When our questions don’t have answers, his do. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. Clay says:

    Great post. No question about it! Your insights on the questions in Job got me thinking and I did a quick (and therefore questionable) retinal scan of Genesis and Revelation, and came up with some interesting but unconfirmed firsts and lasts:

    The first recorded question in Scripture is asked by Satan of Eve when he questions her statement about what God had commanded: “Indeed, has God said…?” (3:1)

    The first recorded words of God spoken directly to mankind are a series of four questions after Adam and Eve fall into sin: “Where are you? Who told you…? Have you eaten…? What is this you have done?” (3:9-13)

    The first recorded question by mankind is by Cain after killing his brother Abel and being questioned by God when he challenges God with a question: “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

    In Genesis 1-2, the first two chapters of the Bible before the appearance of Satan, there are no questions, only statements of God’s sovereign power and purpose in creation. In Revelation 21-22, the last two chapters of the Bible after the defeat of Satan, there are no questions, only statements of God’s sovereign power and purpose in re-creation. The truest answers to our deepest questions are not found in the between times where we live in a sinful fallen world under Satan’s influence, but in the beginnings and endings where God makes all things right and all things new. Our answers are found in the Alpha and the Omega.

    If I didn’t miss a question in my hasty scan, I found the search not just interesting but encouraging. Thanks for the jump start with your post.

  4. Bob Gill says:

    Great blog. Introspectively I have to ask:

    Do I consider myself a seeker, a question-asker, or am I trying to prove myself an authority with all the right answers?

    Do I come to Scripture asking “What should I do, God?” seeking to dump my responsibility as a follower? Or do I come to Scripture asking “Who are you, Lord?” which deepens my relationship with Him?

  5. Andrew says:

    As Michael Card once wrote, “Could it be the only answer that means anything is You?”

  6. Just yesterday I wrote an article titled “Does God Answer Prayer.” Today, I happened upon John’s quotes. Here is the link to the story if you wish to read it.
    http://absalom264.wordpress.com/2011/07/25/does-god-answer-prayer/

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