Mark 8:1-30

This passage is laden with questions such as; “How many loaves do you have?” “Why does this generation seek a sign?” “Why do you discuss the fact you have no bread?” “Do you not yet see or understand?” “Do you have a hardened heart?” “…And do you not remember…how many baskets full of broken pieces you picked up?” “Do you not yet understand?” “Do you see anything?” “Who do the people say that I am?” “But who do you say that I am?” We might be thinking…Wow.. for an omniscient Being, He sure asks a lot of questions! Since He suffers no knowledge deficit He must have been using His questions to stimulate their thinking toward some good end. Perhaps God likes to watch us use our brains.

Often, a Christian is thought to be maturing as a servant by their ability to hear God’s statements and to heed them. I would not want to dispute the legitimacy of this style of spirtuality. However, I do want to consider another way God interacts with us. Instead of just giving commands to servants, I believe He asks questions to His sons and to His friends.

I am a grandfather to some amazing little kids. While their parents give them commands, they also ask them questions. Everyone is far more interested, and entertained, by watching a question engage the brilliant, agile and creative mind of a child. I love watching their wheels turning, assembling from their limited experience and knowledge, answers which make perfect sense to them. It seems that their learning is accelerated more by questions than commands because they have to live with the outcomes of their precious half-baked little thoughts until their experience reveals there is something amiss; “OK…. I guess cutting my sisters hair was not a good idea.” (a recent half-baked little thought)

“Thinking” is often viewed with suspicion in circles where God is expected to speak with clarity and detail.  It is presumed in some circles that this is “the” prerequisite to God’s will being accomplished on earth as it is in heaven. For me, I believe that approach is “a” way, “one” of the ways God gets things done. I also believe He is in control sufficiently of human affairs to ask us how we would approach a situation and give us the latitude to explore and experiment in finding answers. I believe in this way the lesson learned becomes a part of us. I also believe God is quite entertained as we endeavor to follow Him and answer His questions from our very limited thoughts and experiences. Is God big enough to accomplish His will while allowing us to grow as children best grow – through exploration and experimentation?

Perhaps the reason we are frustrated in hearing His voice is that we are listening for commands when He is in fact asking questions. Perhaps the reason our progress is often limited is that we are speaking when we should be listening. By provoking thought and dialogue, questions promote connection between us and God and each other. Questions are appropriate for us as His agents of free will who are learning to walk in His ways. Questions reveal humility and hunger. Questions become us. And, the ensuing dialogue connects us.

Unless you become as little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of God.

Father, permit that our hearts would become childlike yet mature; flexible yet resolute; meek yet courageous; humble yet bold and innocent yet wise. Help us to hear the questions you are asking us. Help us to ask the right questions of You. Help us to ask the right questions of each other. Raise up an army of people whose brilliant agile and creative minds function in harmony with the Holy Spirit within them. May we hear in our spirits both Your living commands and Your questions. And..may Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.

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