Read His Words Before Ours!
Questions are a part of our worlds. At the restaurant, it is “How may I help you?” At the doctor’s office, it is “What are your concerns today?” In school, it is “What are you learning?” At home, it may be “What’s for dinner?” Or if you have a young toddler it may even be the beloved “Why?” question.
Throughout a day I find myself asking questions often. Sometimes they are to myself and sometimes they are verbalized to others. Occasionally they are rooted in frustration as I try to figure out why I just made a choice I did or what a coworker was thinking in hers.
Most recently I have found myself echoing the toddler’s cry in talking with the Lord as I have asked the “Why” question regarding His timing and plans in my life, especially in light of the reality that is the year 2020.
Oh how grateful I am that the Lord made us to question. We are made in His image and the Lord first introduces His use of questions in Genesis. I believe the Lord welcomes our questions, especially when we are truly seeking to know Him and His character better. For anyone who has been told that asking God questions is a sin I would encourage you to ask the Lord His thoughts on that.
That being said, questioning the Lord CAN lead to sin. They way in which we ask the Lord, our heart postures in the process, and our response to the outcome of our questions are all arenas in which we can find ourselves running rampant in sin. In my own life I have found myself sinning when lashing out at the Lord in my questions and asking the Lord for answers and then rejecting the one I receive because it was not the one I wanted. Questions are a sweet gift the Lord has given to us to build relationship with Him. They are also a solid litmus test for the status of our hearts.
A prime example of a woman who succeeds in questioning the Lord and honoring Him in the process is Mary, the mother of Jesus. I can picture the look on Mary’s face and the tone of her voice as she asks the angel how exactly she, a virgin, would bear a child. This was a childlike inquisitiveness and a subsequent response filled with obedient submission. After asking her question, Mary’s next words accepted the role she would play.
She said yes and began a journey that would simultaneously wreck her life and reward it with life beyond her wildest imagination. Because Mary said yes she experienced earthly rejection; more than likely days of doubt; the battering only a mother’s heart could experience as Jesus Himself grew, faced rejection himself, and ultimately was crucified; and countless other details that could be inferred by imagining her life.
However, at the very onset of the story, as Gabriel, the angel of the Lord, speaks to her, Mary’s ability to follow the Lord’s leading shines through. She asks how this would become reality and her next words were ones of acceptance. Jump ahead a few weeks and Mary’s words have moved from acceptance to thankfulness for the part she would play in this love letter the Lord was writing to the world. Scripture does not show that Mary heard directly from Gabriel again nor were we told that a manual for navigating the upcoming days, weeks, and months was provided for Mary. She accepted her role, celebrated the blessing that it was, and walked closely with the Lord.
Isaiah 55 declares that God’s ways are not our ways. More often than not, His ways require levels of faith that challenge us. Mary was no different. Where Mary stands out from so many of us lies in her posture to say yes and rejoice in all that yes included. How often have I failed to experience the fullness of what the Lord has for me since I refused to say yes, did so with grumbling, drug my feet in obedience, allowed the fear of man to paralyze me, or treated the entire process as a trial to endure rather than an entrustment to find joy in throughout?
Mary demonstrated the effectiveness and freedom of using questions in her relationship with the Lord. She also displayed the beauty of following the Lord with a surrendered and humble heart. She modeled the faith and fortitude required to follow when the path leads into counter-cultural regions, through hard seasons of many kinds, and with rarely more than the next step to take illuminated. I pray that I can live my life with a similar grace, joy, tenacity, and contentment.
Let’s use our questions to draw closer to the One who knows all the details and writes the best stories. Let us also respond well to the answers to those questions, dear sisters, for His glory and our gain. When we follow His guidance, we may just discover immeasurable joy and adventure amidst all the unexpected twists and turns.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!