Reflections - May I Ask?

Eleanor Deckert

I ask questions. It seems to be what I do. All of my teachers remember me. My doctors, optometrists, bus drivers remember me because I ask them questions. Clergy! I ask them lots of questions.

I ask to learn, clarify, better understand. I am curious, eager, enthusiastic. I want to be involved. I want to demonstrate that I want to participate.

Elders, experts, professionals, I ask them all questions. However, I do not believe in blind faith. I do not have 100% 'trust' of the 'expert.' I ask because I want to understand so I can make an informed decision. Since facts untangle confusion and misunderstandings, I ask questions to clarify information to relieve stress... not add to it.

I ask because I respect the person I am asking. They know something I don't know.

Very rarely there is someone who takes my questions as threats, insults, undermining, doubting. Most people like to be asked.

Observing myself, I ask myself, “What are some examples in the Bible? Is it OK for people to ask questions along their Faith Journey? Is it OK for people to ask God questions? Does God ask people questions? What would Jesus do?”

The concordance has pages of references for 'who, what, where, when, how and why.'

I wonder: What was the first question recorded in the Bible? Genesis 3:1, The serpent asks Eve, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” A question that undermines God's authority and opens the door to doubt. Adam and Eve cover themselves and hide.

The second question - Genesis 3:9, “But the Lord God called to the man, 'Where are you?'” Interesting. I thought God knows everything. Oh, look. Here is the answer to that.

Psalm 139:7-12 – “Where can I go from your Spirit?

Where can I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens, you are there;

if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

if I settle on the far side of the sea,

even there your hand will guide me,

your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me

and the light become night around me,”

even the darkness will not be dark to you;

the night will shine like the day,

for darkness is as light to you.”

In order to extend hope and restore everlasting life to the whole human race, the time comes for Emmanuel ( 'God with us') to be born and live among us. However, the messenger, Gabriel, is met with a question - Luke 1:34, “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

He gave her information she could understand and concluded by saying, “With God nothing shall be impossible.”

When Jesus began to preach, He used questions to emphasize His teachings. And many questions came to Him from the followers…

Matthew 12:46-50 – “While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, ‘Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.’

He replied to him, ‘Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?’ Pointing to his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.’”

Which leads to the next question - “How do I do the will of my Father in heaven?”

Micah 6:8 – “And what does the Lord require of you?

To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

Jesus' disciples ask for clarification - Matthew 25:37-40, “‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

He replies, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”

Most agonizing is Jesus' question from the Cross - Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, John 19, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”, quoting Psalm 22 which presents details of the crucifixion centuries before. The Psalm ends with a joyful proclamation that those who seek Him will “live forever.”

The third day after Jesus' burial in the tomb, when the women arrive early in the morning, two men in dazzling clothes ask them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” - Luke 24:5.

And so, the answer to 'The Big Question' is before their very eyes. “What happens after the grave?”

May I ask? Or do I have to accept this on blind faith?

Mathew 7:7-8, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

One thing have I desired [asked] of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple - Psalm 27:4