Encouragement Skill #9


“Where are you?”  It was the first question posed in the history of our world.  God was the one was doing the asking.  While a question is usually asked for the purpose of finding an answer, it was not true in this case.  God sees all things and knows all things.  He knew right where Adam and Eve were but perhaps they needed to admit they were hiding and why.  God continued to ask questions on and off throughout the Old Testament.  Seventy questions were posed to Job alone; heart wrenching questions that, in the end, brought perspective to his despair.

When Jesus lived here, He asked over three hundred questions but when others inquired of Him, He only answered a handful because a good number of questions were traps.  Jesus’ asked someone a question for the purpose of self-revelation.  There was something a person needed to discover about themselves by digging deeply.

Jesus asked Philip, while they looked out over a hillside dotted with hungry people, “Where are we to buy bread so that these people may eat?”  Would Philip answer with a statement of faith?  “There’s no food here but that’s not a challenge for You, Lord!”  Instead, he felt the stress of a problem too big to be humanly solved. Faith was absent.  I also remember Jesus asking the cripple at the Pool of Siloam, “Do you want to be well?”  To him, it must have sounded like a foolish question but it was one that reverberated with meaning in depths of his soul.  Was he really ready to have his identity changed?  Did he want to relate to others as someone independent rather than needy?  Was he ready to give up the attention he was accustomed to?

When I am hurting, it’s easy to get stuck in my own head.  The events of my life swirl round and round and hold me captive.  “Are you having a good day today?” is unhelpful for it invites a one-word answer and does nothing to help me find any relief.  I may need to talk but have no idea where to start.  Most of the time, people are shy of someone who hurts.  The darkness is intimidating and they feel the pressure of thinking they have to have answers.  The real gift is expressing a love that is interested enough to ask the question.  It’s often the only time someone who is afflicted is invited to say what desperately needs to be said, to admit what they have borne alone, and to reveal what has tormented them but has never before found words.

A good question is not one that can be answered with a simple yes or a no.  It is one that opens the soul.  i.e. How are you handling this?  What’s the most difficult part of this journey?   Most of us want, and need, to tell a part of our story to someone who loves us, someone safe and wise.  Our experience is that few either care enough to ask or are not equipped with enough experience to know that heartfelt questions can be so extremely helpful.

Lord, help me discern the questions you might ask that would bring relief and spiritual breakthroughs.  I am your servant. Amen

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