I have a love-hate relationship with questions. Everything I hate about questions: the uncertainty, the waiting, the grayness, I love about questions.
Questions propose something is missing or unknown. Questions yearn for an answer, a solution, some certainty. Questions can challenge, convict, or cast doubt. But no question, according to my high school science teacher, is ever stupid…it may be a “Bone-Head Question” resulting with your name on the board to promote embarrassment, but it is not a stupid question.
Questions, if they’re good questions, can never be answered with one word. Good questions require reflection, a seeking-out, soul-searching time. Good questions spur on deep thinking and consideration of absurdities. Good questions encourage self-examination.
There are three good questions that I am ruminating over tonight. Three seemingly simple questions…loaded with meaning, difficult to answer.
“Where did you come from?” (Genesis 16:8)
“Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9)
“Where are you going?” (Genesis 16:8)
These questions were asked by God to other people in history, but tonight, I feel as if He’s asking me. I could answer these questions quickly: I came from my mother’s uterus. I am in my bedroom. I am going to sleep. But when I really think about these questions, I can’t come up with one solid answer.
Not every question has an easy answer. Some questions can only be answered with more questions. But all questions cause us to do one thing: seek. Seek out the answer, search for truth, look inside yourself.
So tonight, I’m looking inside. I’m remembering my past…where I was 6 months ago when I started my first nursing job…2 years ago when my heart was infected with a love for Africa…4 years ago when I prepared for college…15 years ago when I prayed to Jesus. Where did I come from? How has my past shaped my thinking? How have my failures made me better? How did my upbringing affect me? Where did I come from?
Tonight, I’m looking inside. I’m considering my current situation. You know, that place you don’t want to be, as evidenced by constantly looking at your calendar. Making plans, resolutions, bucket lists. Everybody wants to better, more whole, more patient, more giving. Seldom do we stop and reflect on our current location. Geographical, emotional, relational…where am I? Where I am is more than my mailing address. It’s hard to not be frustrated with where I am tonight. Jim Elliot once said, “Wherever you are, be all there.” That’s what I want. To be present, to be genuine, to be grateful.
By far the most difficult question is the last…”where are you going?” Honestly, I have no clue. I have made God laugh for the past 12 months by telling Him all my plans. So tonight, I’m not making plans. Maybe that makes me unfocused, passion-less, flighty. Regardless, I look good in gray sweatpants, waiting in the uncertainty of this question. Not having an answer requires me to quit looking inside myself. Instead, I look out and up and around. I keep moving, one step at a time knowing that I never go anywhere alone. Not knowing where I’m going is scary, but so good.
Three questions. No solid answer. Beautiful.
So may you ask these three questions tonight. May you reflect, think, and seek. And I pray at some point in this process, you will realize God’s up to something bigger than just you.