Monday, June 28, 2010

The God Who Questions

Why is that at our most difficult times, when we have the most questions of God, He does not answer us?  Certainly the One who is from all eternity has the answers we want.  Certainly He could dispel all our doubts and anxiety with but a word.  But more often than not when we cry out our questions we are met with a nagging silence.  It's nagging because somehow, somewhere, deep down inside of us, we wonder if maybe we have asked the wrong question or even are not entitled to ask the question in the first place.

Like many things with God, I believe the solution lies in relationship.  We too often get our relationship with God wrong.  He is not the Object of our quest but rather He is the Subject.  We are not outside of God examining Him.  He is examining us.  He is testing us.  He is determining our metal, trying our imperfections, setting us in right relationship to him.

Peter Kreeft in his excellent book on the Wisdom literature of the Bible, "Three Philosophies of Life", says that the answer as to why God does not directly answer Job's questions of him is that it is not about who Job is but rather who God is.
"Because of what God is, he cannot show up in answer to Job's questions, in function of Job's needs.  God will not answer Job because God is not the Answer Man.  He is not the Answerer, the Responder.  He is the Initiator, the Questioner."
How often does Jesus answer the questions of the Pharisees or his Disciples with not an answer but a question?  "Should we stone this woman?"  "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone."  Our questions of God are typically of the kind that ask what kind of God He is.  Is He truly all powerful, is He truly all good, etc.?  What God often responds is, "Who are you?"

Who am I?  Am I someone who desires God above all else?  Even above the answer to my question?  Do I long to see God's face or am I simply satisfied with His back?  Will I allow Him to question me and lay bare my soul so that I may be made whole?  When God shows up and responds to Job, not with answers but with questions, Job answers
"Before, I knew you only by hearsay but now, having seen you with my own eyes, I retract what I have said, and repent in dust and ashes." Job 42:5-6
 Job has his answer, finally.  God is. And that is enough.

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