Thursday, August 21, 2008

Lesson Number Two...

Originally posted August 3, 2006.

By nature, I am extremely inquisitive. Growing up my mother always called it "nosey," however that has a very negative undertone, so I'll stick with inquisitive. Besides, it sounds much more sophisticated.

Anyway, as I was saying, I tend to ask a lot of questions. Not all of them out loud. Most are held captive in my vast imagination, as I fear asking too many questions will annoy those around me. But I wonder silently about stuff. Stuff like...

Doesn't that lady, wearing that heavy, wool sweater realize it's a thousand degrees outside right now?

If I rearrange the living room furniture, again, will my husband notice? And if he does notice, will he be upset?

Does that person realize their socks don't match their pants?

You know, things like that. I didn't say they were deep, intelligent questions. Just questions. About living life kinda things. Everyday things. Those are the kinds of questions I keep to myself.

Then there are the kinds of ponderings I have out loud. These are usually directed at my husband who must decide if I want an honest answer or if just shrugging "Uh, huh" will do. These questions are usually a bit deeper, with more thought behind them. They might sound a little like this...

Hmm, do you think melted ice cream has fewer calories than frozen ice cream, allowing me to eat more of it without the guilt?

Why do inter league games in the MLB count towards a team's overall record?
(As a side note, I don't think they should, but what do I know?)

Again, not the mind blowing inquiries of a future Nobel Prize winner. Just some random puzzlements that pop into my head and require some sort of response.

I save the more philosophical ones for God. His answers are always right so I just go straight to the top.

Why was I born into a middle class family in the US while that little girl was born into a family who lives, works, and eats in the garbage dump of a third world country?

Why should I pray for world peace if I already know the end result?

What's the point of a pinky toe?

There are usually a few "What the heck does that scripture mean?" thrown in there, too. And yes, some of my God questions are a little ditzy, but doesn't everyone have a few like that?

Occasionally, my questions to God are muttered in anger. I used to feel guilty about this. Like I was going to hurt God's feelings or something. Then I read the book of Habakkuk. Here's what he has to say...

"God, how long do I have to cry out for help before you listen?
How many times do I have to yell, "Help! Murder! Police!"
before you come to the rescue?" (1:2)

The majority of the prophets in the bible speak God's word to us. But Habakkuk speaks our words to God. He asks our questions. He sees an injustice happening around him and he throws it up to God.

"What is going on here? Are you still listening? Do you realize what’s happening down here on earth? Are you going to let us die?" (paraphrasing here)

But here's my favorite...

"God, you chose Babylonians for your judgment work?
Rock-Solid God, you gave them the job of discipline?
But you can't be serious!"

Habakkuk, being a prophet, speaks intensely and passionately. This doesn't change just because he's addressing God. He knows God can handle it and he just asks away with all the gusto he's used to using.

But here is where I really learned from my buddy HK...

"What's God going to say to my questions?
I'm braced for the worst.
I'll climb to the lookout tower and scan the horizon.
I’ll wait to see what God says,
how he'll answer my complaint."

He stopped, took up a watchful stance and waited on God. And God answered him; probably not in the way HK was hoping, but it was a response all the same. It was a reminder that God is still in charge. It was an admonishment, but it gave HK hope. God was on His throne. God could handle the questions and the wondering.
"God's on his way again,
retracing the old salvation route...
Skies are blazing with his splendor,
his praises sounding through the earth,
His cloud-brightness like dawn,
exploding, spreading,
forked-lightning shooting from his hand-
what power hidden in that fist!
Plague marches before him,
pestilence at his heels!
He stops. He shakes Earth.
He looks around. Nations tremble."

Habakkuk asks his questions, get's his answer, and praises God. Even when the answer wasn't what he wanted. He still praises.

Lesson number two in this phase of growing... Ask all the questions you want, but take time to listen for the answer. And regardless of the answer, God is still Almighty and He still deserves my praise.

"Though the cherry trees don't blossom
and the strawberries don't ripen,
Though the apples are worm-eaten
and the wheat fields stunted,
Though the sheep pens are sheepless
and the cattle barns empty,
I'm singing joyful praise to God.
I'm turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God.
Counting on God's Rule to prevail,
I take heart and gain strength.
I run like a deer.
I feel like I'm king of the mountain!"

(All scripture quoted from The Message)