Has anyone ever asked you a difficult question?
I don’t mean the kind that involves advanced calculus or requires knowledge of arcane facts. I’m referring to questions with answers that can’t be found via Google’s search bar. Questions that prompt serious self-examination, helping us discover truths about ourselves we may not have uncovered otherwise.
I recently read a tweet by Robert Henson, a pastor in Flint, Michigan, that offered two important questions to consider. Pastor Henson noted that the first recorded question of God to man in Scripture is found in Genesis 3:9, when the Almighty asked Adam, “Where are you?” The first question Jesus posed in the Gospels is found in John 1:38, when Jesus asked two of His followers, “What are you seeking?”
“These two probing questions concerning LIFE are worthy of our reflection as we approach a New Year,” Pastor Henson wrote.
Let’s start with God’s question to Adam in Genesis 3:9. It’s one many people have difficulty answering today.
God wasn’t trying to determine Adam’s physical location. Instead, the question was God’s way of confronting Adam, making him face the facts of his disobedience. Adam was hiding because, when people sin, they usually want to avoid accountability. (That’s why some people never darken the door of a church.)
God asked Adam “Where are you?” because He wanted Adam to ask himself that question.
Many of us are still scared to answer that question for the same reasons as Adam. We don’t want to face the truth about who we are. We don’t like taking responsibility for our actions and where our decisions have led us.
But we must answer this question before moving on to the next. We can’t get where we want to go without first acknowledging where we’re at.
It frequently has been noted that the most accurate, detailed map in the world is worthless if you don’t know where you’re starting from. We must be honest about our present reality if we want to move forward to something better.
Only then can we answer the second question: “What are you seeking?”
Jesus asked this question to two men who were following Him at the prompting of John the Baptist. John had declared Jesus to be “the Lamb of God” (John 1:36). Two of John’s disciples who heard this proclamation responded by following Jesus.
“Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, ‘What are you seeking?'”(John 1:38, ESV). The New International Version phrases Jesus’ question as, “What do you want?”
Perhaps these two men were following Jesus mostly because of John’s pronouncement that the carpenter from Nazareth was the Messiah. Maybe they felt obligated to follow Jesus because of John’s influence in their lives.
Are we following Jesus only because someone we respect told us we should? Are we following Him merely out of obligation?
What are we seeking? What do we want?
This may be one reason many people struggle with following Jesus (and a lot of other things in life). We never have truly determined why we’re doing what we do.
Pastor Henson was right: this is a good time to wrestle with these questions. If we make the effort, I suspect 2018 may unfold a little differently than anticipated.
Isn’t it interesting that God even bothers to ask us questions? After all, He’s omniscient. He doesn’t need our answers. He is the Answer.
Ultimately, I believe God asks questions for our benefit. The secret to great conversation is asking great questions, and that’s exactly what God wants – a conversation with you and me.
Deity wants to dialogue with us.
So where are you?
What do you want?
Let the conversation begin.