Questions for Jesus...
Hello. I know it has been quite a while. The last 4 weeks have been trying ones with my health. I'm grateful for all your prayers and support during some dark days where the pain, nausea, jaundice and weakness put me in tears... even at times asking the Lord... "Is this the beginning of the end?"
So, please forgive me for my absence. It's been tough. Tonight, I'm grateful for a period of time where I have the med balances right that permit me enough energy to share some thoughts and hopefully something useful will come of it.
Quick update on treatment: I've recently switched to a new line of chemo to treat my disease. It's really taken a toll, but I think the worst is behind me now. I'm very grateful for bosses and peers who have been more than understanding and very supportive. Please pray this new line of chemo is fruitful in treating the disease. I can't tell you how much it encourages us to have so many people fighting with us against this deadly foe.
Switching to the title of this post...
Recently, our family watched a sermon where the pastor was in Acts 1:1-11, and he discussed the period after the Resurrection when Jesus stuck around for 40 days teaching the disciples. He asked us to imagine what it would be like to be there being taught, asking Jesus questions and Him asking us questions... face to face.
Due to my present circumstances, the prospect of asking Jesus questions was a sure attention grabber. And... I'm pretty sure for many of us, we would delight at the opportunity for the same. I imagine many of us as we face the challenges of our lives often find ourselves clicking our nails on our teeth and even have felt a burning in our veins to ask Jesus a question face to face.
Here's mine: "Lord, is it Your will for me to be healed, or is it Your will for glorify You by joining you soon in eternity?"
I try to imagine myself during an evening on the Mount of Olives across a campfire looking into His face and stirring the courage to ask. How do I ask such a personal question into the eyes of eternal wisdom like His and it be pure? This is, after all, the One Who through Whom all things were made after the Father's decree. He created light. He formed the world from nothing. Baby buns... He made those too. (C'mon, we all know they're really made from some unidentified heavenly substance, and that's why we spritz them when no one is looking.)
The more I thought about it, His transcendence would make the insignificance of my life the more, well, insignificant. Wouldn't it be selfish to ask for more time here? Even what I believe to be a commission in Scripture to strive to be a godly man, faithful husband and father seem small compared to the magnitude of His perspective: His sovereignty pervasive enough to not be limited by just one man's life.
Therefore, I think it wouldn't be easy, and I would be tempted to just say: "Lord, with whatever path you direct my life or my death, please allow me to be faithful to bring you the glory in everything."
But... there is Christ's imminence. Transcendent as He is, He is still personal. And, for the 24 years of new life I've known Him, He has been pervasive in His pursuit of me in the midst of an eternity of cares, crises and cataclysms. His grace that is poured on many, also was smothered on me. His blood that was shed for so many, was also shed for me. His Spirit that sustains so much, also sustains me. These gifts don't make me special... for there is not room for arrogance in grace (Eph 2:9) ... they just make me one who is loved.
It boggles my mind... I can only be stunned. But, I guess that's what the Psalmist meant when inspired to write: "What is man that you are mindful of him...?"
So, in light of His outrageous love, I'd have to ask Him, because His cross compels me to. He wouldn't start something at not finish it, (Phil 1:6). Our questions are a part of His ongoing work. If His grace works properly in our lives, it should compel an innate curiosity of and for our Savior. That includes questions.
Therefore, we must remember these things:
1. He wants our questions: "Call to Me and I will answer you and and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." Jeremiah 33:3. I laugh that at one point in my life I thought the utmost of life's ambition would be to be a fighter pilot in the fashion of Top Gun. How meaningless it seems to me now, after His teaching, to be a single maverick of a guy thinking he is the master of his fate. What are the world's ambitions in comparison to the glory of Christ?!?!?? What is being a ladies man with many companions compared to a lifelong commitment before God to a woman of such character as my wife??!?! What is flying a fighter plane compared to seconds of time with 8 children.... (and their baby buns...) (OK, I know it's unhealthy. Judge me later.)
2. He wants our toughest questions. He can handle them. If we think we have a poser too much for Him we much remember He out witted the devil himself ... and trust me, we're not as smart as the devil in our flesh. I'll never forget as a new Christian trying to come to grips with what I was now reading in the Bible in comparison to what I had been taught as a child. God provided a pastor, like a spiritual father to me, who stated wisely in a sermon how we shouldn't be afraid to ask God our toughest questions, and ask the Bible our toughest questions. He can handle them. A good word for a baby Christian trying to put the pieces to together. And, that pastor is right. There has been no question God hasn't been able to answer in 24 years. And, I don't suspect I'll be able to stump Him with another 24.
3. We will never be able to answer questions with a perfect motive, and He knows that. Ask anyway. (James 1:5) Our impure motives are what the Cross is all about. Ask yourself if you'd rather have the most profane of posers from your children or no questions at all?
4. But, we must ask in faith and not doubt. James 1:6-8. This is where we can sin in our questions. We must not accuse in our questions. We must not imply God is at fault. We must not accuse Him of any wrongdoing. Job excelled here, 1:22. We can vent, we can be emotional, we can grieve, we can cry, we can even be angry, but we must ask in faith... in trust. Read the Psalms! Oh boy! But, our Divine Listener is perfectly holy in a way we will only understand in eternity. We need not increase our shame in our inquiries. We must remember Him as the good, good father. And, when we fail, there is the Cross and the beautifully magnificent gift of repentance.
He wants our questions because He desires to complete something He started in us. If we fail to ask, we only injure ourselves. In His answers, we'll find in His eternal, transcendent face, an imminent face we also can embrace.