Posts Tagged ‘ask questions’

John 20:24-31: Glory, Part XIII – DoubtThomas

Saturday, July 30, 2022

We hear this story often on the Sunday after Easter, when the pews that had been overflowing the Sunday before now stand strangely vacant. The story logically follows the Easter event because it gives each of us an opportunity to explore – and to doubt – what we say we believe. Perhaps there is a bit of Thomas in each of us.   

Today’s lesson on Glory: We each have the choice to believe or reject the amazing story of God’s love for us. We ought not shy away from doubting and exploring because it is often after doubting that we come to believe all the more firmly. 

We call Thomas, Doubting, but we might better think of him as Questioning. Thomas insists on proof, much like a child, much like each of us. Thomas asks for the real presence of God, as do many children and as do many of us. Thomas refuses to follow blindly, as might all of us. Before we bring Jesus to others – as we are asked to do – we must argue, probe, doubt and finally believe genuinely as Thomas does. We must say, as Thomas does, “My Lord and my God!”

We would be false apostles as those we read about in Revelation 2:2-3. I know your works, your labor, and your endurance, and that you cannot tolerate the wicked; you have tested those who call themselves apostles and discovered that they are imposters.  Moreover, you have endured and have suffered for my name, and you have not grown weary.” The writer of Revelation, John of Patmos, also cautions that we are to repent, warning that the light of our lampstand will be extinguished if we lose the love we had at first.  We must realize who and what we are, we must repent and repair, forgive and ask forgiveness, heal and be healed, question and discuss.  We must seek so that and we will ultimately find God’s eternal, healing and inexplicable glory.

Using a search engine, we look for images of Doubting Thomas and study this story as we consider the questions we present to God . . . and the answers we receive. 

Image from: http://www.stmatthewcr.org/parish/2014/04/23/3004/ or https://www.pinterest.com/pin/387168899190994789/

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Job 9 and 10: Questions

Friday, November 22, 2019

We enter this part of Job’s story at the point where he has suffered greater losses than can be imagined – loss of family, health, possessions and friends.  Job is accused of hiding his sin . . . which he has obviously committed because in this culture suffering is seen as a payment from Yahweh for misdeeds – by Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar.  Job replies to their accusations in words that resonate with anyone who has suffered greatly and unjustly.  I like Job’s tenacity and his unrelenting will in both remaining faithful to and questioning of God.  If you have the time, spend some of it this afternoon with these chapters and you will uncover the nuggets left there for us to mine.

Verse 9:13: He is God and he does not relent . . .

Verse 10:2: I will say to God, do not put me in the wrong!  Let me know why you oppose me!

We can remain faithful to God and still question.  When we silence our need and desire to inquire, we begin the slippery slide into passive aggression.  If we do not allow our doubts and fears to percolate to the surface where we can deal with them honestly, we open ourselves to anxiety and self-recrimination.  We allow the darkness to take over.

Job questions his maker: Your hands have formed me and fashioned me; will you then turn and destroy me?  Oh remember that you fashioned me from clay!  Will you then bring me down to dust again?

When we read the closing verses of this book, we hear God’s reply.  He answers Job’s questions with questions of his own.  Were we present at creation?  Did we see the parting of the seas?  Did we establish the movement of the sun and stars?  No.  We are creatures . . . not the creator; yet we are a valuable and integral part of this great mystery we call Creation.  We demonstrate fidelity by trusting the goodness of this mystery.   Questions that lead to truth and honesty, light and openness are not acts of betrayal, they are acts of integrity.

We are dearly loved by God.  Jesus himself tells us to ask, seek and knock.  God awaits our questions . . . with questions of his own . . . questions which lead us to uncover hidden truths and mysteries.

And so we pray . . .

Good and patient God, we are happy that you do not relent, do not give up, do not yield.  It gladdens the soul to know that you pursue us as does an ardent lover.  It reassures us to know that you abide.  We attempt to return this deep and intense love, yet we stumble as we move toward you.  Reach out your hand, heal our wounded hearts, dry our tears, mend the brokenness of our lives.  Be ever present . . . for without you we are lost.  We remain your faithful and faltering servants.  Amen.

Written on May 22, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite.   For more thoughts on Job and his questions, enter the name Job and his Plaint, enter the name “Job” in the blog search box, or go to the Wisdom portion of  The Book of Our Life on this blog.

To see what questions are being asked on Survey Monkey, click on the image above or go to: http://blog.surveymonkey.com/blog/2011/12/05/what-survey-questions-are-asked-most-often/

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Friday, September 20, 2019

1 Corinthians 2:10: The Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God.

When a political, social or religious structure prohibits us from asking questions we need to be wary.

When friends, relatives or colleagues tell us to keep secrets we must not go along with the group.

When we are tempted to conceal truth, to fog reality or look the other way we are obliged to seek clarity and advocate for openness.

God says: Do not be afraid to scrutinize your surroundings; honest questions bring you to the truth.  Many will attempt to keep you far from me and away from the light but I can and do permeate all space.  I am present in all times.  I penetrate closed doors and I enter hard hearts. I soften stiff necks and I convert the most twisted sinner.  So do not fear inquiry; it becomes you.  Do not be afraid to allow your doubts to generate questions that will free you from fear.  I am open to each of you.  I have told you who I am and how I am.  I know all about you for I have created you in my image.  Scrutinize everything, even me.  I long to hold you within my own heart.

For more reflections, type the word Ask God or Asking God into the blog search box to see where the Spirit leads you.

A re-post from August 28, 2012.

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Job 40-41: God Runs the Universe

Sunday, August 26, 2018

We have accompanied Job as he questioned the wisdom of God’s plan and defended his innocence against his friends. We have entered into our own intimate dialogs with God as we thirst, complain, seek, defend and question. Today we spend a bit more time with these two chapters as we compare THE MESSAGE translation of these verses with other versions. Today we experience the full impact of the dialog Job has with God. Today we understand not the why or how, but the reality of the fact that God runs the universe.

Chapter 40: Verses 1-2: God then confronted Job directly:

“Now what do you have to say for yourself?
    Are you going to haul me, the Mighty One, into court and press charges?”

What charges do we press against God? What human acts do we blame on the LORD? What do we have to ask and to say?

Chapter 40: Verses 3-5: Job answered:

“I’m speechless, in awe—words fail me.
    I should never have opened my mouth!
I’ve talked too much, way too much.
    I’m ready to shut up and listen.”

Are we in awe of God? Do we believe we may have said too much or too little? Are we ready to spend time with God each day so that we might listen?

Chapter 40: Verses 6-7: God addressed Job next from the eye of the storm, and this is what he said:

“I have some more questions for you,
    and I want straight answers.

Are we prepared to give God straight answers? Do we have the courage to answer God truthfully? Are we able to willingly and freely admit that God runs the universe?

When we spend time with these chapters and verses today and ask questions as we look through the lens of multiple translations. As we ask honest questions and listen to hard answers, we come to a deeper appreciation of God’s economy and plan.

Images from: https://hanswidener.com/2017/02/09/relinquishing-control-lesson-1/  and https://becomingchristians.com/2013/07/09/scripture-of-the-day-will-you-deny-gods-existence/

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