11.12.05

Questioning - Jesus Army Life, Day 149

This morning I read Psalm 147. Characteristically, as with many of the latter psalms, it is full of praise for God. What struck me was that it praised God in the midst of trouble. The singer rightly glorifies God for restoring Jerusalem after the exile but he doesn't seem to question why the bad things happened in the first place.

Sometimes it is very important to focus on the positives in order to appreciate more fully the things that God is doing. But there are times when it must be necessary to ask the hard questions too. The questions in life, and especially in religion, which we'd rather gloss over.

I was asking God, and myself, some of those hard questions this morning. Why do I only see a limited amount of God's power at work? Why do we, his saints, waste his grace so much? What is going on when God is not moving in power at all? The answers aren't simple and I won't attempt to deal with such weighty stuff in one blog session, but it did occur to me that St Paul knew God's power and knew great times of struggle too.

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.
2 Corinthians 12:8

The fact Paul had to raise the issue three times would suggest he wasn't satisfied with God's response the first or second time around. But eventually he learns God's way: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

It would be all too easy to apply that answer to every unanswered question, especially when there are lessons to be learnt in the questioning itself.

Yesterday White Stone leaders met to discuss our next step as a household and household members did a similar exercise for their personal lives in the evening. Listening and providing feedback in these sessions helps to thrash out some of the issues we don't or choose no to see. But sometimes we have to go further and ask deeper questions of ourselves too, even if it rocks the status quo.